May 31—Coach Geno Auriemma has had nine of his UConn women’s basketball players represent the United States in the Olympics.
That list will hit double figures at the Games in Tokyo.
Former Huskies’ All-Americans Stefanie Dolson and Katie Lou Samuelson will be part of the United States squad that will take part in the first 3×3 event at the Olympics. Team USA qualified Sunday with a 21-10 quarterfinal win over Belarus and a 21-13 semifinal win over Spain at the FIBA 3×3 Olympic qualifying tournament in Graz, Austria.
“I think all of us still are just kind of soaking it in, just to actually be part of qualifying America for the Tokyo field, because that’s awesome,” Samuelson said in a release from USA Basketball.
Team USA and France, which defeated Japan in its semifinal, earned Olympic bids with their semifinal wins. Japan topped Spain to earn the third and final bid.
The Americans advanced to Sunday’s action by going 4-0 in pool play.
“I think the pool play games really prepared us for today,” Samuelson said.
After coasting past Belarus, Team USA scored six unanswered points to take a 13-6 lead on Spain. The Americans led by at least four the rest of the way with the clinching layup coming on a pass from Plum to Dolson.
Dolson and Gray each had seven points against Spain. Plum had four and Samuelson three, all from the foul line.
“I’m just thankful to have three people I can play with and who can pass me the ball,” Dolson said. “It’s not normal to have a ‘big’ in the game of 3×3, but we made it work. They were able to find me, and I was able to finish.
“We’re just super excited, really proud of our team. Looking forward to Tokyo. We fought really hard. We knew this was going to be a tough game and just really proud of how we performed.”
Samuelson has been part of 3×3 gold medal teams at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, the 2013 FIBA 3×3 U-18 World Cup, and the 2013 FIBA Americas 3×3 U-18 Championship.
She took part in a 3×3 camp in February after training with the women’s national 5×5 team and the 3×3 team in January. She joined the 3×3 roster in March.
“I went to those camps originally, and I got put in as an alternate,” Samuelson said. “One thing I know with USA Basketball is you never know when you’re going to be needed, to get called up or when you’re going to need to step up. I’m grateful I had this opportunity to fill in, and I feel like we’ve been playing really well here.”
The 3×3 basketball for men and women will feature eight teams competing from July 24-28.
For coverage of all sports in the JI’s 18-town coverage area, plus updates on the UConn women’s basketball team and head coach Geno Auriemma, follow Carl Adamec on Twitter: @CarlAdamec, Facebook: Carl Adamec, and Instagram: @CarlAdamec.