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U.S. 3X3 team nets two more wins to go 4-0

Kelsey Plum looks to make a pass. USA Basketball photo.
Kelsey Plum looks to make a pass. USA Basketball photo.

The U.S. 3X3 team are 4-0 in Olympic play after two more wins earlier today.

Team USA outran Romania (0-4), 22-11, and then fought past the Russian Olympic Committee (3-1) for a 20-16 win.

Against Romania, Kelsey Plum lead the way with 12 points on 7-7 shooting. After the first few minutes, the U.S. held a 7-6 edge when a Plum shot sparked a 6-1 run that put the team up by six. The U.S. ran away with the victory with 75 percent shooting from the field and 89 percent from inside the arc.

“I think we just started to execute better,” Jackie Young said. “We got locked in after a little bit. I think in the beginning, we weren’t executing as well as we should have been.”

Stefanie Dolson had six points and Allisha Gray and Young each chipped in two.

Against the ROC, Team USA trailed 5-2 before Plum and Gray combined for four straight points to take a 7-5 lead. ROC then went on a run to take a 10-7 lead. Gray tied the game 10-10 at 3:44, but the USA again found itself down 14-11 at 2:55. Dolson was fouled at 2:47, and with ROC over the foul limit, Dolson stepped to the line and made both free throws to pull the Americans within one point, 14-13.

After forcing an ROC turnover, Gray swished a two-pointer, which was followed by a Plum drive, and the USA was in the lead 16-14. ROC scored at 1:38 to make it 16-15, but the momentum had swung to the U.S. side. The Americans closed out the game with a point from each athlete, and gave up just one more score to ROC to bring the game to its 20-16 final as time expired.

“I think we expected that, that they were going to play super physical and the fouls were going to be pretty high, but I thought we played through it for the most part,” Plum said. “They’re a really good team, and they’ve been playing together as you can see. They make a lot of really good reads. So, I’m just proud of the way we battled. We could have gotten down on ourselves when we got down early, but we didn’t, and we got the win.”

Allisha Gray blocks a shot. USA Basketball photo.

Gray led the USA with eight points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots. Dolson and Plum each added five, and Young had two points and two rebounds.

After facing Italy and China tomorrow, the USA will wrap up preliminary round play Tuesday against host Japan (3-1) at 12:30 a.m. EDT.

Following the preliminary round, in which all eight teams play each other once, the first- and second-placed teams earn an automatic berth into the semifinals July 28, and the third through sixth placed teams will meet in semifinal play-in games. The seventh and eighth place teams after the preliminary round conclude their Olympic play.

Team USA takes on Italy and China tomorrow.

USA Basketball contributed to this report

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