Olympic-bound teams aim for confidence boost at FIBA 3x3 Women's Series in Poitiers
28 Jun 2021
POITIERS (France) - After the most incredible 3x3 action we've ever seen – and with the Olympics now on our doorsteps – your demands are being heard loud and clear.
Tokyo is still too long a wait because you want 3x3 now, right? Well your wish will be granted with the third stop of the FIBA 3x3 Women's Series 2021 in pretty Poitiers to be held on June 29-30.
The 12-team field is absolutely loaded and includes several bound for Tokyo. But don't be fooled thinking this is just some Olympic preparation event. There will be much on the line as the Women's Series starts heating up and there's a total of 10,000 USD in prize money to win.
Some of 3x3's biggest stars will be in action but they are set to be challenged by young prospects and rising teams.
World No.1 France have dominated the Women's Series like it's their personal playground. Don't mess with their toys because Les Bleues play bully ball at this tournament! They won a remarkable 6 of 9 events at Women's Series 2019 and triumphed in Voiron last month.
In the meantime, France qualified for the Olympics but this 3x3 juggernaut is meaner than swiping left on Tinder. They have the most devastating one-two punch in Laetitia Guapo and Migna Toure since Thug Rose Namajunas.
And don't forget Marie-Eve Paget, who is the bread roll that holds this tasty baguette together. She can do anything on the court and ensures that France is never satisfied.
Pool A: France (1), Mongolia (8), Germany (9) Pool B: Russia (2), France U25 (7), Slovakia (10) Pool C: Romania (3), Spain (6), Thailand(11) Pool D: Russia U25 (4), Netherlands (5), Austria (12)
France are the headliners but they have been drawn in a tough Pool A against everyone's favorite underdog Mongolia, who will be in Tokyo in a historic making achievement for the offbeat Central Asian country.
Germany won't have the brilliant Satou Sabally to rely on but their recent experience on the big stage in Graz and punching their ticket to the FIBA 3x3 Europe Cup in Tel Aviv bodes well.
Russia are also pumped up with their Olympic dream nearing and they top Pool B but won't have it all their own way because France are so dope that they have an extra team - their under 25s!
Russia were brilliant in 2019 and while they didn't capture any silverware they never finished lower than third in four events. A title ahead of the Olympics would be a nice confidence boost for a team with just a little bit of swag.
Romania are a 3x3 force and also headed to Tokyo. They will insert Garbiela Marginean in a lineup that impressed (3rd overall) in the latest Women's Series stop in Voiron. They face a tough early test in Pool C against Spain, who finished runners-up at the same event.
The European power failed to make the Olympics in heartbreaking fashion after finishing fourth in Graz but since then clinched their spot to the Europe Cup in Tel Aviv.
This said, the Spanish team will look very different in Poitiers. Helena Oma will lead an experimental lineup of Women's Series rookies. The depth of talent is so big in Spain you may not want to write them off.
Pool D boasts Russia U25, who much like France are so loaded that they can field two title-contending teams.
Young guns Olga Frolkina and Yulia Kozik powered this talented team to fourth-placed in Voiron but they face a mouthwatering clash early against fifth-seed Netherlands, who will only have one half of the brilliant Bettonvil sisters with Loyce shouldering a lot of the team's burden in France.
France, Russia, Mongolia and Romania will all be making the trip of a lifetime to Tokyo. So that means half of the Olympics women's teams will be playing in Poitiers. France and Mongolia meet on Day 1 in an early opportunity for bragging rights ahead of the Olympics.
It is a golden chance for teams to test each other out but perhaps a full revealing of the cards won't quite happen.
It's wise for them to leave some tricks in the back pocket but no doubt these Olympic-bound teams want a mental stranglehold over rivals they will see on the grandest stage of them all.