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Team USA wins inaugural 3x3 gold medal behind Dolson’s heroics

WNBA stars Stefanie Dolson, Allisha Gray, Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young are Olympic gold medalists after winning the first-ever 3x3 competition. The U.S. defeated Russia in the final, while China defeated France in the bronze medal game.

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3x3 Basketball - Olympics: Day 5
From left to right: Jackie Young, Stefanie Dolson, Kelsey Plum and Allisha Gray
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Stefanie Dolson scored a game-high seven points, including the final three for her team, hauled in a game-high nine rebounds, including key boards late, and was the difference in an 18-15 win over Russia as Team USA claimed the gold medal at the inaugural 3x3 Olympic tournament in Tokyo on Wednesday morning.

Dolson made it 18-14 USA after an offensive board and layup with 31 seconds remaining and got the game’s next rebound as well, a defensive one, which allowed the U.S. to wind down 12 more seconds off the clock. That left Russia with one more possession and Anastasia Logunova’s foot-on-the-line one with four ticks to go was not enough.

Russia took the silver medal and China took bronze.

A two from Yulia Kozik with 44 seconds left made it interesting as it cut USA’s lead to 17-14. Two Dolson free throws with 1:16 to play had made it 17-12.

The U.S. avoided sending Russia to the line, made 8-of-11 free throws and won the battle on the glass 21-11.

Dolson was difficult to contain throughout the Olympic run, but alternated the spotlight with Kelsey Plum and Allisha Gray. On Wednesday, Gray notched four points and six rebounds, while Plum was good for five points and a block. Though Jackie Young’s numbers were not as flashy as the other three, she was solid throughout the run and added two points and three boards on Wednesday. Young replaced Katie Lou Samuelson at the Olympics because Samuelson tested positive for COVID-19 on July 17.

The U.S. had a chance to run away with it because it went up 12-5 with 3:53 to go, but Kozik answered with a 2-pointer three seconds later. USA never trailed and the game was only tied once, at 1-1.

Logunova led Russia with six points, five rebounds and two blocks. Olga Frolkina added just one point but recorded three boards, four assists and a block to go along with four points, two rebounds and an assist from Kozik and four points from Evgenia Frolkina.

Russia was better than the U.S. from from inside the arc, held it to 0-of-7 shooting from deep and prevented it from getting an assist, but still lost.

Bronze medal game: China over France, 16-14

France was able to force China to lose the ball out of bounds with three seconds left, but, afterwards, a Marie-Eve Paget pass to Mamignan Toure hopeful for a two from the right corner sailed out of bounds and China ran out the remaining 0.5 seconds.

Ana Maria Filip missed a contested three from the left corner off the front rim with 13 seconds left. That would have tied the game for France. China nearly went up three when a Zhiting Zhang layup fell through with 57 seconds remaining, but a travel was called. Six seconds before that, Paget buried a two to cut it to 16-14.

The biggest shot of the game was a 2-pointer from Shuyu Yang that put China up 16-12 with 1:10 to play. Not only did that kill France’s momentum at the time (it was on a 3-0 run with the latest basket coming 10 seconds earlier), it also provided the cushion that China needed in the end.

China led by five three different times, with the latest occurrence coming on a Lili Wang two that made it 14-9 with 2:24 to go. Wang scored a game-high nine points to go along with four rebounds and an assist.

Toure scored seven of France’s first nine points and finished with eight and a block.

Zhang ended up with two points, seven rebounds and an assist while teammate Jiyuan Wan posted two points and four assists. Yang rounded out China’s contributors with three points to go along with a rebound.

Paget was 2-of-4 from distance and notched five points as well as three rebounds. Filip (three rebounds) was held to one point and Laetitia Guapo (one block) was held scoreless.

Both teams were perfect from the stripe, but China made three free throws compared to France’s one.