TopOfTheCircle.com

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July 29, 2021 — An Olympic champion realized

There are just four players on a 3-on-3 basketball team.

Each of the four players have to carry the load when it comes to defense, rebounding, shooting, and even the task of capturing a made shot and passing it out to a teammate over the three-point line for the next possesion.

It’s a quick game requiring precision passing and a knowledge of each other’s tendencies so that the interchange of positions are instantaneous.

Now, it’s a given that the United States could always put together a tremendous 3-on-3 team in either gender. But it’s interesting that, even while the Big 3 professional tournament started four years ago, the United States failed to qualify a men’s team to the Tokyo Olympics.

The women? No problem. The team of Kelsey Plum, Allisha Gray, Jackie Young, and Stefanie Dolson plowed through pool play to gain the No. 1 seed in the knockout round of the Olympics, then beat France and the unbranded Russia Olympic Committee team to win the gold medal.

It’s a great resurgence for Stefanie Dolson, who was an elite player while at the University of Connecticut, but found herself traded to the Chicago Sky her third year in the WNBA. Since then, the team has been a mid-table franchise. Currently, the Sky are at .500 in the Eastern Conference.

But Dolson, coming off a family outbreak of COVID-19, has worked hard on her game and even dropped 30 pounds to become more injury resistance as well as to develop the endurance needed for the rigors of the game. She played beautifully in the pivot for the United States, grabbing rebounds, scoring inside, and making passes to teammates.

Dolson would not have been out of place on the senior women’s basketball team, especially with Elena Delle Donne out with a back injury. But no doubt, she would have been a dominant and intimidating presence no matter which version of the game she chose for Tokyo.

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