After bolstering their FIBA ranking with a line of impressive tournament finishes, the United States women’s 3x3 team has earned a berth to the 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT), FIBA announced Friday.
The 20-team tournament will take place in March in India, from which the top three teams will advance to the eight-team Olympic field. Team USA will compete in Group A with France, Germany, Uruguay and Indonesia. Also announced Friday were the first four teams to make the Olympics, by virtue of their FIBA ranking: Russia, China, Mongolia and Romania.
USA Basketball will hold a training camp in early March to determine which four athletes will compete in India. However, FIBA regulations stipulate that two athletes on each team must come from the federation’s top-10 rankings. According to FIBA’s individual rankings, the United States’ top five players are Christyn Williams (UConn), Aleah Goodman (Oregon State), Bella Alarie (Princeton), Michaela Onyenwere (UCLA) and Charli Collier (Texas).
Williams, Goodman, Alarie and Collier were teammates in the FIBA Women’s 3x3 Series this summer, where they represented the United States in events around the world. FIBA ranks athletes (and federations) by a points system — the more international experience you get, the more points you can accrue.
Also certainly in the mix for the OQT is the team that won gold at the Pan American Games, made up of Williams, her UConn teammate Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Oregon teammates Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard.
Most recently, a United States team containing Hebard, Jackie Young (Las Vegas Aces), Napheesa Collier (Minnesota Lynx) and Paige Bueckers (2020 UConn commit) took fifth place at the inaugural World Beach Games.
The final spot in the Olympics will go to a team competing in the FIBA 3x3 Universality OQT in April. This field is made up of teams that did not have a basketball representative in either the 2012 or 2016 Olympics, along with the 2020 Olympics host, Japan (who does not automatically qualify for 3x3). All of these teams also have a chance to qualify in March.
The inaugural Olympics 3x3 tournament will take place from July 25-29 in Tokyo.