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Plum two saves U.S. 3x3 in thriller against good China team, clinches semifinal berth

Team USA 3x3’s games have gotten progressively tougher recently, with their last three wins coming by four, four and two, respectively. On Monday, Kelsey Plum was the heroine against China, while Allisha Gray and Stefanie Dolson each had six points in an earlier win over Italy.

3x3 Basketball - Olympics: Day 3
Kelsey Plum
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Kelsey Plum made a contested 2-pointer from the top of the arc to end Team USA’s thrilling 3x3 game against China at 21-19 with 34 seconds remaining on Monday morning at Aomi Urban Sports Park in Tokyo, improving USA’s record to 6-0 and dropping China to 4-2.

Plum’s game-winner came just seven seconds after Jiyuan Wan scored for China, tying the game at 19. From the time the game was tied at 17 with 1:52 to play, the score had alternated between a one-point U.S. lead and a tie game. Lili Wang had made a huge 2-pointer with 2:10 to go that gave China a 17-16 advantage.

The game was tied at 13, 14 and 15 and the last two-point lead before the end of the contest was held by China at 13-11 with 5:11 to play. China also led 12-10 on a 2-pointer from Shuyu Yang, which came just nine seconds after a two from Wang tied the game at 10. USA led by two six times before that in what was a close game from start to finish.

Plum finished with a game-high 10 points on 2-of-2 shooting from distance and added three rebounds. Yang nearly matched her with eight points but missed seven 2-pointers compared to two makes.

Allisha Gray had five points, five boards and three blocks for the US, while Stefanie Dolson (six rebounds, three assists) and Jackie Young (two rebounds, one assist) each chipped in with three points. Wang notched six points in defeat, was 2-of-2 from beyond the arc, grabbed two boards, dished out an assist and blocked a shot. Zhiting Zhang added three points, four rebounds, an assist and a block for China, while Wan finished with two points and an assist.

China won the 1-point field goal percentage battle 11-of-17 (65 percent) to 14-of-26 (54 percent). Plum accounted for all of USA’s 2-point makes and attempts, while China went a combined 4-of-12 from deep. The US went 3-of-3 at the line compared to an 0-of-1 effort from China and won the rebounding battle 18-9.

USA needs to win one more game to finish the prelim round undefeated and it will face host Japan (4-2) at 12:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday.

USA over Italy, 17-13

Plum (three points, three rebounds, four assists) made a nice spin move and free throw line jumper to put Team USA up two with 57 seconds remaining and Gray (six points, six rebounds, one assist, one block) made two free throws with 18.7 seconds left to seal the deal.

Italy’s foul trouble (eight fouls committed) and it’s struggles from beyond the arc (2-of-9) doomed it, though it did make twos that cut it to 12-10 with 3:07 to play and 13-12 with 2:28 to go. Team USA was no better from distance, going 0-of-7.

Plum made a finger roll lay in with 1:17 remaining to make it 14-12 USA and Giulia Rulli followed with an inside basket for Italy 12 seconds later. Earlier in the game, Plum missed two free throws that could have put USA up 12-8, but it went up 12-8 anyway on back-to-back layups from Dolson (six points, seven rebounds, one block). USA led by two five different times before that. Italy never led, though it tied the game three times early.

Young added two points and a rebound to the winning cause while Rae Lin D’Alie (five rebounds) and Rulli (one rebound) each posted four points for Italy. Chiara Consolini added three points, three boards and two assists in defeat, while teammate Marcella Filippi scored two points and grabbed three rebounds. Consolini and Filippi were the ones who made Italy’s 2-pointers.

USA comfortably won the 1-point field goal percentage battle, 14-of-21 (67 percent) to 9-of-26 (35 percent) and went 3-of-5 at the line, while Italy (2-4) did not attempt a free throw.