2012 USA Women’s 3x3 World Championship Team Advances To Semifinals, USA Men Drop Quarterfinals Contest
August 25, 2012
The inaugural FIBA 3x3 World Championships for Men and Women continued today in Athens, Greece, and the USA 3x3 women (7-0) finished preliminary play as the No. 1 seed out of Group D, then advanced through to Sunday’s medal semifinals after earning two medal round victories. The USA 3x3 men (5-2) also ranked as the No. 1 seed out of their pool and won their Eight Final contest, but dropped a 20-16 heartbreaker to Serbia (6-1) in quarterfinals action and are out of the competition.
The USA women remained undefeated after rolling to a 21-2 victory over The Netherlands (0-5) to close preliminary play and then eclipsed Estonia (2-4) 21-11 in the first knockout game and then moved into the semifinals with a 21-8 win over Hungary (5-2). The U.S. women will face also undefeated Australia (7-0) in the semis (1:00 p.m. EDT) for the right to advance to the gold medal game. Competing in the other semifinal game is France (7-0) against Ukraine (6-1). The gold medal game will be contested at 3:30 p.m. EDT and will be available live online at www.greece2012.fiba.com.
“Our women have won every game with 21 and they’re in a good position to medal,” said USA Basketball 3x3 Director Travis Johnson. “They’ve been playing extremely well together, they are very fluid on the court. They play Australia tomorrow and the winner of that game will play the winner of France and Ukraine. There are some pretty good matches tomorrow against some very tough teams.”
“I think we’ve been real aggressive,” said Ann Strother (Castle Rock, Colo.), about how her team has won all its games before the 10:00 regulation period ends, as the first team to 21 wins. “We’ve come out aggressive. As for tomorrow, we’ve watched Australia, they’re very physical as well. We kind of know what to expect, but if we stick to our game plan and do the things that we’ve done this whole tournament, get the ball inside … you can’t really help. In three-on-three there’s really no help side and there’s no time. You just have to be aggressive and go at them.”
The USA men suffered a close 15-14 setback to Romania (3-2) in their first game of the day, but still advanced to the next round atop Group D and edged Bulgaria 19-17 to keep their medal hopes alive. However, Serbia took an early lead and went on to advance to the semifinals.
“They were a very good team,” said Ira Brown (Corsicana, Texas). “They banked in some shots that we didn’t think they would hit and we didn’t make shots that we should have hit. It was just a tough, tough situation.”
“The men fell behind early against Serbia and were starting on a huge comeback, but Serbia just hit some last-second bank shots that deflated us in the end and time just ran out,” said Johnson. “It was an unbelievable showing for the first time competing internationally. They’ve been winning since our tournament in Colorado Springs. The men lost their final pool play game, which might have been what they needed because they came right back and won their first bracket game, but just fell short to Serbia in the quarterfinals.”
The 2012 USA 3x3 men’s team consists of Adetayo Adesanya (Naperville, Ill.), Brown, 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 Strother.
In the men’s semifinals Serbia will take on Ukraine (6-1), while France (7-0) faces Israel (5-2).
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 top four finishing teams from each group advanced to today’s Eight Finals, with winners advancing to the quarterfinals. The victors of the four quarterfinals will compete in the Aug. 26 semifinals and medal games.
All the games on Court 1 will be streamed live online daily at www.ert.gr/webtv/web-tv-live/ert-websport1-live.
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 was held Aug. 24 and the dunk and shootout qualifiers were held today. Representing the U.S. in the skills contest, Diggins advanced to tomorrow’s finals; while Adesanya replaced Brown in the dunk contest and also advanced to tomorrow’s finals. The shootout qualification round, in which Diggins, Hartley and Strother will participate on the women’s side; and Adesanya, Hardge and Williams will compete for the men; will be held Aug. 26.
In addition to the men and women’s tournaments, 14 nations are participating 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. did not compete in the mixed competition.
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 IRa Brown
On the game against Serbia:
They were a very good team. They banked in some shots that we didn’t think they would hit and we didn’t make shots that we should have hit. It was just a tough, tough situation.
On the competition overall:
It was a good experience, being able to represent the USA. There were a lot of things that we expected and a lot of things that we didn’t expect. It was extremely physical. We trained for it to be physical, but at the same time it was a whole different level of physicality. Other than that it was a great experience. Everybody played hard day in and day out. It’s an experience that we will never forget for the rest of our lives. I’m really hoping that these other guys that I played with, Tayo (Adesanya), Allen (Williams) and Tyree (Hardge), will get an opportunity to go and play somewhere, because I feel that they deserve it. They played hard. They worked hard throughout training camp and I feel they’re very deserving of it.
How did the FIBA 3x3 World Championship differ from 3x3 tournaments you’ve played in previously?
It’s just a much faster game. You’ve got a 12-second shot clock, that in itself makes it a much faster game. I played in Hoop Fest, it was actually my first year playing in Hoop Fest in Spokane, Washington, which is the largest three-on-three in the world. I played in that and it was absolutely nothing like it. There’s physicality allowed, but not to the extreme of what was allowed here in Athens. Other than that, it’s almost the same. Except that you can’t really understand what people on the other teams are saying, as far as being able to read them. But, it was a great experience. An experience I will never forget for the rest of my life.
Will you be cheering on the USA women tomorrow night in the semifinals and finals?
Absolutely. We’re behind them 110%. We’ll be yelling for them, helping coach them along the way as far as saying, ‘hey watch this or that.’ We’re there for them. They’re USA and we’re USA, so we are behind them and they deserve what they get. I honestly believe that they’re an extremely talented team and the sky’s the limit for those four.
How can you impart what you’ve learned here to the next USA Basketball 3x3 team?
I have enjoyed this and hope to be able to help the next team that plays in any way I can. We’re pioneers of the game, we want to help the next USA team along. Also, if we get back to the same position we’re in, we’ll know what to expect as far as the physicality of the game and what other countries have to offer. So, we’ll be extremely ready for the next competition if we’re blessed to do that.
More from Ann Strother:
On the competition:
It was good. So far we’ve definitely been tested with some teams, with the physicality of the game. It’s a different world out here. The way they play is a much more physical game. When going to the basket, back in the States if you get hit you know they’re going to call it. Here, you have to take that contact and still finish because sometimes they’ll call it and sometimes they won’t. It is definitely a different game. It’s fun and exciting. It’s cool to be here in Greece and be a part of it.
What has it been like to don the USA Basketball jersey again after all these years?
It’s nice. It’s always nice to wear the USA gear. It’s something you dream about from the time you’re little. Anytime USA Basketball would ask me to do anything, I’m happy to be involved. It has been awhile, but it’s still good.
Have you been able to get out and see some of the sights around Athens?
We went to the Acropolis the first day I was here. We got up early and walked up it. That was really cool. We’ve see some of the very first Olympic sites and the arena, which was really cool. The first night we went to dinner on the sea, which was amazing. Other than that we haven’t had too much time, it’s kind of a quick trip. The Acropolis we can see from our hotel, which is pretty cool.
What’s it like playing with the three collegiate players?
I was just talking to my roommate Chiney (Ogwumike) about that. I think when you play college and then for me, going to play professionally it’s definitely a change. When you play with people who know how to play together and want to play as a team, it’s fun to be a part of. So, I couldn’t ask for three better teammates to play with and a better situation. It’s fun.
You have two games left to go first against Australia, which is also undefeated. What kind of game should we expect to see?
I think we’ve been real aggressive. We’ve come out aggressive. As for tomorrow, we’ve watched Australia, they’re very physical as well. We kind of know what to expect, but if we stick to our game plan and do the things that we’ve done this whole tournament, get the ball inside … you can’t really help. In three-on-three there’s really no help side and there’s no time. You just have to be aggressive and go at them.
What’s it like playing outside in the heat of Athens?
It’s hot (laughs). It’s really hot. Today I think it was 100, 101 degrees when we went out for our shoot around at noon. Then the sun doesn’t really go down until about 7:00, 7:30. Games start at 6:00, so the teams that have the early games are playing in the heat. For the rest of the games it’s pretty nice.