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WNBA players make up first U.S. Olympic 3x3 basketball team

Kelsey Plum, Katie Lou Samuelson

WNBA players Stefanie Dolson, Kelsey Plum, Allisha Gray and Katie Lou Samuelson make up the first U.S. Olympic 3x3 basketball team announced Wednesday.

Last month, that quartet earned the U.S. an Olympic spot at a qualifying tournament in Austria. But those four players weren’t assured places on the team. A selection committee ultimately kept the team intact.

As expected, the roster is made up of women from the 29-player national team pool who weren’t named to the 12-woman traditional Olympic basketball team.

Napheesa Collier, an original Olympic 3x3 qualifying team member, was replaced by Samuelson on the 3x3 qualifying roster and then named to the traditional Olympic basketball roster.

Sabrina Ionescu, the 2020 WNBA No. 1 draft pick and former Oregon star, was not in the 29-player national team pool and thus not expected to make either Olympic team. Ionescu was on the 2019 Pan American Games gold-medal 3x3 team, then missed most of the 2020 WNBA season due to an ankle sprain.

In 3×3, half-court games end after 10 minutes or once a team scores 21 in an outdoor venue. There’s a 12-second shot clock. Made shots count for one point, or two points if beyond the arc.

The U.S. men failed to qualify for Olympic 3x3, marking the first time in history that the U.S. failed to qualify for an Olympic men’s or women’s basketball event. It qualified for the 32 traditional Olympic basketball tournaments and earned a medal all 30 times in participated (excluding the boycotted 1980 Moscow Games, for which both teams qualified).

Of the Olympic quartet, Dolson is the most experienced, having made two WNBA All-Star teams. Gray was 2017 WNBA Rookie of the Year.

Plum and Samuelson were also standout college players for Washington and Connecticut, respectively.

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