Robbie Hummel poses for a portrait during the Team USA Tokyo 2020 Olympics shoot on November 20, 2019 in West Hollywood, Calif.
One of the sports making its debut at the Olympic Games Tokyo this summer is 3x3 basketball, and both the U.S. men’s and women’s teams are looking to nail down their spots this weekend.
Playing at the FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Graz, Austria, on Saturday, both teams secured their places in the quarterfinals by finishing in the top two in their respective preliminary groups. The winners of Sunday’s quarterfinals advance to the semifinals, and each semifinal winner will get one of the three Olympic qualifying spots available. There will be no championship game, but the two losing teams from the semifinals will play one another for the third and final spot in Tokyo. The semifinal winners qualify for Tokyo.
In the quarterfinals, the U.S. women take on Belarus at 8:50 a.m. ET, while the U.S. men will face the Netherlands at 9:40 a.m.
Going into the fourth and final game of pool play against Belgium on Saturday, the U.S. men’s team needed only to score 16 points, win or lose, in order to break a three-way tie to win Group B and make the quarterfinals.
It almost didn’t happen.
Belgium proved a tough challenger, and with just over a minute left, the score was tied, 14-14. Joey King, who played at Minnesota and was a late injury replacement on the U.S. roster, scored with 30 seconds left and then hit a layup to get the U.S. to that crucial 16th point, but the team suffered its first defeat after Belgium hit a couple big 2-pointers late for a 20-16 victory. Dominique Jones, Kareem Maddox and Robbie Hummel round out the U.S. men’s roster.
Earlier in the day they beat Kazakhstan 22-19 to improve to 3-0 after beating Lithuania and South Korea to start the tournament. While the 21-3 victory over South Korea wasn’t a great test, the men did have to come from behind to beat Lithuania in the opener 21-20.
The women kicked off the tournament with victories over Indonesia and France. The game against Indonesia presented few challenges, with the U.S. winning 21-7. Stefanie Dolson, the former Connecticut standout who now plays for the Chicago Sky of the WNBA, led the U.S. with eight points.
France, ranked No. 1 in the world, was a little trickier. The U.S. trailed 5-1 to start the game, then went on a 9-3 run to pull ahead. Overall, the game saw five ties and three lead changes, but ultimately the U.S. came out on top with a 21-17 victory.
The women then beat Germany 21-12 in the opening game on Saturday to remain undefeated and guarantee a spot in the quarterfinals, then wrapped up pool play by easing past Uruguay 22-5. Allisha Gray, Katie Lou Samuelson and Kelsey Plum join Dolson on the U.S. team.
Games in the 3x3 format feature a 12-second shot clock using only half the court. Shots made inside the arc are worth one point, outside the arc two. The first team to get to 21 points or the team ahead at the 10-minute mark wins the game.