2012 USA Basketball 3x3 Teams Undefeated After First Day
August 23, 2012
The inaugural FIBA 3x3 World Championships for Men and Women got underway today in Athens, Greece, and both the USA men’s and USA women’s teams went 2-0 in preliminary games. The USA Men’s 3x3 World Championship Team (2-0) opened with a 17-14 victory over Turkey (1-1) and followed that up with a 20-14 win over Egypt (0-2), while the USA Women’s 3x3 World Championship Team (2-0) earned their victories before the 10-minute game clock expired as the first team to 21 points wins. The women opened with a 22-9 victory over Germany (1-1) and followed that up by defeating Angola (0-2) 21-4.
“The atmosphere here in Athens was great,” said USA Basketball 3x3 Director Travis Johnson. “Each team had two solid wins today and we’re looking for more of the same tomorrow.”
The 2012 USA 3x3 men’s team consists of Adetayo Adesanya (Naperville, Ill.), Ira Brown (Corsicana, Texas), Tyree Hardge (Surprise, Ariz.) and Allen DuBois Williams (Tempe, Ariz.); while the 2012 USA 3x3 women’s team is comprised of Skylar Diggins (University of Notre Dame/South Bend, Ind.), Bria Hartley (University of Connecticut/North Babylon, N.Y.), Chiney Ogwumike (Stanford University/Cypress, Texas) and Ann Strother (Castle Rock, Colo.).
“The first game was a little more of ‘catch your wind’ and also we were trying to get used to the rims, because we’re playing outside and the depth perception is different,” said Ogwumike. “But, in the second game we were jelling better. We knew what to run (and) when. We were looking for each other, being aggressive and using our conditioning to our advantage.”
“The strength of our team is that all four of us can play inside-out, defensively and offensively,” said Williams following the men’s game against Egypt. “We play for each other. We try to do the right thing, make the right play every time. We’re working hard. We really want this.”
The inaugural FIBA 3x3 World Championship features 24 men’s teams and 24 women’s national teams divided into four preliminary round groups of six teams each. The U.S. men next face England (2-0) and Lebanon (0-2) on Aug. 24, and close out preliminary play Aug. 25 against Romania (1-1). The USA women will take on Bulgaria (2-0), which replaced Sri Lanka on the original schedule, and Argentina (1-1) on Aug. 24, and will conclude preliminary play versus Netherlands (0-2) on Aug. 25. The top four finishing teams from each group advance to the Eight Finals to be played on Aug. 25, with winners advancing to the quarterfinals that will also be played Aug. 24. The semifinals, and the bronze and gold medal games, will be played Aug. 26.
All the games on Court 1 will be streamed live online daily at www.ert.gr/webtv/web-tv-live/ert-websport1-live, and will include the USA men’s game versus England on Aug. 24 (11:20 a.m. EDT), the USA women’s contest against Argentina on Aug. 24 (1:30 p.m. EDT) and the USA men against Romania on Aug. 25 (11:00 a.m. EDT).
In addition to the men and women’s tournaments, 14 nations will participate in the mixed tournament, in which each team will be comprised of two men and two women from 14 countries in a knockout format with the first two rounds played on Aug. 24 and the finals on Aug. 26. The U.S. will not compete in the mixed competition.
Also featured during the weekend will be a skills contest for women, a dunk contest for men and a shootout contest for both men and women. The skills qualifying round will be held Aug. 24, while the qualifying dunk and shootout contest rounds will be held on Aug. 25. All finals will take place Aug. 26. Diggins will represent the U.S. in the skills contest; Brown will be the USA’s representative for the dunk contest; Diggins, Hartley and Strother will participate in the women’s shootout; and Adesanya, Hardge and Williams will compete in the men’s shootout.
Under FIBA’s 3x3 rules, each game will consist of one 10-minute period, with one 1:00 overtime period if needed. If the game is still tied after the first overtime, a second and final overtime is played and the first team to score two points wins. The team leading after completion of regular playing time, or the first team to score 21 points is declared the winner. Shots made outside the arc are awarded two points, shots made inside the arc are awarded one point, and each made free throw is worth one point. Additionally, a 12-second shot clock is utilized.
More from Chiney Ogwumike:
What is the atmosphere like?
Oh my gosh! If you could combine a basketball sporting event, the Final Four and a club party, that’s what you’ve got with 3x3. Plus, a little bit of street ball, a little Gus Macker. It’s super fun. Everyone’s competitive and the thing with 3x3, it levels the playing field. Meaning, that everyone can play, because it’s four players instead of a team of 12. So, it’s competitive, but we’re having a blast representing the country. And then, we’re playing outside, which is really neat because you get a feel for more of the country as well. So, we’re loving it.
Are you getting a good feel for each other?
Yes, definitely. The first game was a little more of ‘catch your wind’ and also we were trying to get used to the rims, because we’re playing outside and the depth perception is different. But, in the second game we were jelling better. We knew what to run (and) when. We were looking for each other, being aggressive and using our conditioning to our advantage.
What’s the most difficult transition from the five-on-five game to this?
First, it’s getting a feel for the game because the rules are different. The parameters are different, literally, but also realizing that you can use tactics and strategies to propel your team. So, a team that’s not so good might have great strategies and be able to compete and give you a run for your money. Just getting a feel for the game in general, to be able to finish … teams play differently internationally. Some teams are more aggressive, some have a different style that you’re not used to, so you can’t react on defense.
Has it helped that you’ve played with Skylar Diggins and Bria Hartley in the past?
I played with Skylar in the World University Games and Bria since I was a baby. It definitely helps because most of these teams are playing year-round and these are the best girls. We recognize some of their faces from other international competitions. I think they have an advantage in the sense that they play together, because international ball is their college, in a sense. Just spending time with each other, knowing each other, has helped us adapt to the game.
More from Allen DuBois Williams
What are the strengths of your team?
The strength of our team is that all four of us can play inside-out, defensively and offensively. We play for each other. We try to do the right thing, make the right play every time. We’re working hard. We really want this.
What was the difference from the games today and past 3x3 tournaments you’ve played?
This was a little bit more intense and it meant more playing for the USA. That’s always the top goal, to play for your country in the sport that you play. So, it just meant more.
Did it hit you a little bit that you were playing in a FIBA 3x3 World Championship the first time you stepped on the court in a USA Basketball jersey?
It did, but it’s kind of one of those things where you have to swallow it quick and get refocused. I think more and more in warm-ups it hit me that this was happening. Once the game started, all four of us just got focused.
What’s the atmosphere there like?
It’s awesome. It’s like a group of guys and girls coming together for one goal, which is to play ball. You talk to a lot of different teams and watch them play. It’s pretty cool. I like it.