Breanna Stewart has the versatility that lends well to the Olympic debut of 3-on-3 basketball at the Tokyo Games.
If Stewart has the opportunity, she would like to show off those skills. The Seattle Storm forward thinks she could go for two gold medals in 2020.
“If it’s possible to play both, I would love to play both,” Stewart said Sunday, two days after 3-on-3 was added to the Olympic program. “I mean, who wouldn’t?”
“Growing up playing basketball, you play 3-on-3,” Stewart said before her Storm lost to the New York Liberty at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. “You go to the [YMCA], you play 3-on-3. It highlights people’s skill a lot more because it’s only six players on the court. It’s how you can be better than the defender.”
Stewart, 22, became the youngest U.S. Olympic women’s basketball player since 1988 in Rio. She won her fourth NCAA title with Connecticut and was drafted No. 1 overall by the Storm last year.
She may be limited in her 2020 Olympic choices.
FIBA hasn’t announced the qualifying or competition format for Olympic 3-on-3. A FIBA spokesman said Monday that process will take at least two more months to determine.
IOC sports director Kit McConnell said Friday that 3-on-3 players will be “specialists” without providing more specifics.
Even if FIBA allows WNBA or NBA players in 3-on-3, USA Basketball and, potentially, the pro leagues would have to sign off.
Recent Olympic women’s basketball tournaments have run from Day 1 through Day 15 of the Games. If that remains, it’s hard to imagine players taking part in the traditional 5-on-5, then switching to a 3-on-3 game, and then back again.
While no NBA players have taken part in FIBA-sanctioned global 3-on-3 competitions, some WNBA notables competed in 3-on-3 world championships while still in college (Skylar Diggins, Bria Hartley and Chiney Ogwumike in 2012, Jewell Loyd in 2014).
Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson, UConn’s top two scorers last season, earned 3-on-3 gold at the 2014 Youth Olympics.
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