Katie Lou Samuelson

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WNBA stars are candidates for U.S. Olympic 3×3 qualifying team

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The U.S. is serious about qualifying an Olympic women’s 3×3 basketball team for the event’s debut in Tokyo. Just look at the candidates for March’s Olympic qualifying tournament team.

They include WNBA All-Stars Napheesa Collier, Stefanie Dolson and Layshia Clarendon, plus fellow pros and recent college standouts Kelsey Plum and Katie Lou Samuelson. A group of 11 will take part in a training camp next week to determine the four-woman team for the Olympic qualifying tournament in India in March.

At least two of the four chosen players must be among the top 10 Americans in FIBA’s 3×3 rankings from a January cutoff date. Via USA Basketball:

  1. Sabrina Ionescu (not at the training camp)
  2. Kelsey Plum
  3. Allisha Gray
  4. Katie Lou Samuelson
  5. Kelly Faris
  6. Layshia Clarendon
  7. Madison Hayes (not at the training camp)
  8. Hailey Van Lith (not at the training camp)
  9. Rickea Jackson (not at the training camp)
  10. Stefanie Dolson

None of the 11 players at next week’s training camp are collegians (like Oregon standout Ionescu), who are in the middle of their seasons. NCAA players would seemingly be unavailable for an Olympic qualifying tournament in March, when the NCAA Tournament happens.

At least two current WNBA players will be on the Olympic qualifying team, given nine of the 11 at the training camp are active WNBAers.

On Nov. 1, FIBA announced the first four teams per gender that qualified for the Olympic 3×3 tournaments based on FIBA rankings (with Japan getting one spot as host). Mongolia and Romania qualified teams, but the U.S. did not for either gender.

The rest of the top nations, including the U.S., were put in the Olympic qualifying tournaments. Three teams per gender will qualify next month for the Tokyo Games.

If the U.S. qualifies for Tokyo, it will then choose its roster(s) in a similar fashion to its traditional basketball teams — via selection committee. It’s unlikely NBA players will be eligible. Like with the qualifying tournament, two of the four players must be ranked in the top 10 among Americans in the FIBA rankings (this time as of a May 22 cutoff).

The candidates for the U.S. men’s Olympic 3×3 qualifying team include its top FIBA-ranked players and no active NBA players, as expected. The most notable name is former NBA player and Purdue star Robbie Hummel.

3×3 games last 10 minutes, or until one team reaches 21 points. Games are played on a half-court with a 12-second shot clock, and offense immediately turns to defense after a team scores.

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