LA JOLLA, Calif. (CNS) – Poway resident Kelsey Plum was the second-leading scorer for the U.S. in both games as it opened play in the inaugural Olympic women’s 3X3 basketball tournament with two victories Saturday.
Plum scored six points in a 17-10 victory over France at Aomi Urban Sports Park in Tokyo that was attended by first lady Jill Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron. Plum also scored six points in the 21-9 victory over Mongolia later Saturday.
“It was kind of good to get the jitters out of the way,” Plum said. “The tournament will just get better. You are in your first game on a worldwide stage, but once we started and the shots started falling, we were just able to be ourselves.”
Plum gave the U.S. the lead for good one minute, 34 seconds into the 10-minute game with the first of her two 2-point baskets. France cut the led to 9-8 on Mamignan Toure’s 2-point basket with 4:17 to play. Plum ended a 5-0 U.S. run with a 2-point basket that gave it a 14-8 lead with 2:58 remaining.
Stephanie Dolson scored a game-high seven points for the U.S., making seven of her eight 1-point shots.
Plum called it “an honor” and “an opportunity to play in front of the first lady.”
“We are excited to get the win for her,” Plum said. “We asked her to come back, so hopefully she has time for us. I loved it. As soon as we walked out, we saw her in the stands. She waved and she brought all the energy, so we are grateful for that.”
3X3 is played with a 12-second shot clock on a half court. Baskets inside the arc and free throws are worth one point and baskets made from outside the arc are worth two points.
The winner is the first team to score 21 points or the leading team at the end of the 10-minute game clock.
Plum concluded an 11-1 game-opening run against Mongolia with a 2- point basket. Dolson ended the game by making a 1-point shot with 3:00 left. American Allisha Gray led all scorers with nine points, making four of five 2- point shots.
The U.S. will continue play Sunday by facing Romania at 1:30 a.m. on USA Network and the Russian Olympic Committee at 5:25 a.m. on NBC. The pool round portion of the tournament consists of one game against each of other seven teams.
The teams with two best records advance to the semifinals while the third through sixth place teams will advance to the quarterfinals.
Plum was initially chosen on Feb. 17, 2020, for the U.S. women’s 3X3 team that was to attempt to qualify for the Olympics the following month in Bengaluru, India. The tournament and the Olympics were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Plum tore an Achilles tendon while playing with her WNBA team, the Las Vegas Aces, last June and was sidelined for the rest of the season.
Plum was selected to the all-tournament team for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament May 26-30 in Graz, Austria, helping the U.S. to a 6-0 record by averaging 5.3 points, 2.0 “key assists” and 1.8 rebounds per game.
Plum led La Jolla County Day to the 2012 CIF Division IV state championship. She scored an NCAA-record 3,527 points in her four seasons at Washington, including the single-season record, 1,109, as a senior in the 2016- 17 season.
Plum was the first overall selection in the 2017 WNBA draft by the San Antonio Stars. The team moved to Las Vegas before the start of the 2018 season.
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