Team USA got off to a great start on Wednesday as Kara Lawson led the United States to a gold medal finish in the inaugural women's 3x3 basketball tournament. Led by a seven-point performance from Stefanie Dolson of the WNBA's Chicago Sky, Team USA knocked off Russia 18-15 to cap off a 6-1 Olympic run. Dolson was backed by Kelsey Plum of the Las Vegas Aces and Allisha Gray of the Dallas Wings, who combined for nine points and six rebounds.
"It is incredible," Dolson said after winning the tournament.
"Basketball runs deep in the USA and to pull this off and win gold is incredible."
Individually, Dolson, Gray, Plum and Jacquelyn Young have all experienced success overseas and in the WNBA, but a gold medal stands above many of their accomplishments. Gray expressed how much a gold medal means to her during a post-game interview.
"An (Olympic) gold medal, that’s like top tier of my career," Gray said.
"I think the only way to top this is to win another gold medal. I don’t think any other accomplishment of my career can top this. The gold medal sits at the very top.”
Behind the scenes, Kara Lawson was pulling the strings and pushing the buttons that allowed this talented team to reach the medal stand. Lawson has coached for the Boston Celtics and Duke Blue Devils, but this is her first time coaching Team USA. Not to mention, she is considered to be one of the leading candidates to break the gender barrier that exists within NBA head coaching roles. She won a gold medal in 2008 as a player and now she has one for her role as a coach.
Moving forward, Team USA will shift its focus toward the women's 5x5 tournament. Having won 50 consecutive Olympic games, Team USA is favored to win its seventh straight gold medal.