Key blocks from Allisha Gray and missed free throws by Russia let USA hang around long enough to get hot late and win their second game of the day after defeating Romania behind 12 points from Kelsey Plum earlier.
The Team USA 3×3 women’s basketball team pulled out a 20-16 win in their final prelim game, which was a battle of the only two remaining unbeatens, improving its record to 4-0 and dropping Russia to 3-1 on Sunday morning in Tokyo.
The most thrilling play of the game came on an Allisha Gray buzzer-beating 2-pointer that gave USA the lead for good with 2:21 remaining, but the real key was a 4-0 run from 1:38 to 0:26 that made the score 20-15 USA and put the game away.
Gray, a 6-foot guard, finished with the incredible stat line of eight points, nine rebounds, one assist and three blocks. She made a key layup with 1:20 to play that started the 4-0 run.
Jackie Young followed with a layup of her own to give USA some more breathing room at 18-15. Kelsey Plum then made a clutch shot in the lane to make it 19-15 and a Stefanie Dolson layup with 26 seconds remaining made it 20-15. The late flurry was exciting for a USA team that had been down three five different times, with the latest occurrence coming at 14-11 with 2:55 to go.
After USA went up 20-15, Russia was only able to score one more basket, a layup by Evgenia Frolkina with 18 ticks remaining.
Gray’s buzzer-beater capped a 4-0 run that made the score 15-14 USA. Russia opened the door for USA when Yulia Kozik (USA-Olympic-opponent-high eight points) missed the first of two free throws when the score turned to 14-11, failing to give her team a four-point lead. It was the second missed free throw of the game for Russia (1-of-3 from the line) with the first also coming when Russia had a three-point lead and also opening the door for USA, which followed with a 5-0 run to make the score 7-5.
USA was 5-of-6 from the charity stripe and received five points and two rebounds apiece from Stefanie Dolson and Kelsey Plum. Jackie Young added two points and two boards.
USA won despite being outshot from beyond the arc 31 percent to 22 percent. Russia made four twos to USA’s two.
Olga Frolkina notched four points, four rebounds and one assist in defeat, while Anastasia Logunova was good for three, four and two. E. Frolkina scored the one point to go along with two boards.
USA over Romania, 22-11
USA used a 7-0 run from 4:53 to 3:17 to turn their earlier game into a blowout and Plum provided the game-ending, dagger 2-pointer with 2:39 remaining.
Plum finished with 12 points, an Olympic high for any US player. She was 7-of-7 on 1-pointers, 2-of-5 on 2-pointers and also dished out two assists. USA was 16-of-18 from inside the arc as a team, while Romania was 7-of-14.
The 7-0 run featured three points from Dolson (two rebounds, two assists), who finished with six points on 6-of-6 shooting on 1-pointers. The run ended with a Plum drive from the top of the 2-point arc for a layup followed by two Dolson layups, which left the score at 20-9.
Claudia Cuic proved to be a formidable opponent for USA, scoring seven points for Romania. She was 2-of-2 from beyond the arc, making a 2-pointer that cut USA’s lead to 7-6 with 6:52 to play and another that cut it to 13-9 with 4:53 to go.
The game started off with back-to-back free throws for USA, but Romania tied it up at 3-3 on a Gabriela Marginean layup. A Cuic inside basket later tied it at 4-4. From there, USA went on a 3-0 run to lead 7-4 before Cuic and Plum made twos five seconds apart that took the score to 9-6 USA. A Cuic 1-pointer that cut it to 9-7 was the last basket Romania would score for a while as USA went on a 4-0 run to make it 13-7.
Gray added two points, four rebounds and three assists to the winning cause, while Young notched two points and one rebound.
Cuic was good for three rebounds and an assist, while teammate Sonia Ursu added three points and two rebounds. Marginean finished with the one point and a rebound and Ancuta Stoenescu recorded an assist in defeat.
USA forced 10 turnovers and committed just two.