Samuelson joins U.S. Team for FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament

3 Mar 2021

COLORADO SPRINGS (USA) - 3x3 is making its debut this summer at the Olympic Games in Japan, and Team USA is getting ready to go for gold. Before they can represent the red, white, and blue, the women's team will need to qualify.

To complete the women's 3x3 squad, Katie Lou Samuelson was named to the four-member USA Women’s 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Team, which will compete for an Olympic berth at the FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament, May 26-30 in Graz, Austria. The top three teams at the FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament will earn a spot in the Tokyo Olympics.

"I am super excited to be a part of this team," Samuelson said. "It is such an honor to be able to go and compete in this tournament to hopefully qualify for the Olympics. I cannot wait to start playing, and I am excited to be playing 3x3 again. 3x3 has always been extremely fun for me, and I look forward to representing the USA once again," she told USA basketball.

Samuelson (Perfumerias Avenida) will replace Napheesa Collier, who was originally part of the four-member team that already includes Stefanie Dolson (Chicago Sky), Allisha Gray (Dallas Wings), and Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces).

She joins the team looking to qualify for the inaugural 3x3 Olympics event after years of 3x3 top-level experience. The 2019 number four overall pick in the WNBA draft won 3x3 gold medals at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup 2013, and the FIBA 3x3 U18 Americup 2013.

Thus far on the women’s side, China, Mongolia, Romania, and Russia have all qualified for the Olympic games, awarded in November 2019, based on the FIBA 3x3 Federation Ranking.

At the FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Samuelson and co. will need to deliver straight away as they will need to finish Top 2 in a difficult Pool A, which also features reigning FIBA 3x3 European champions France, Germany, Uruguay and Indonesia. If they make it out of the pools, they will have to win two more games (quarter-finals and semi-finals or third-place game) to go to Tokyo.

The eighth-and-final Olympic berths for the women will go to the winning teams at a FIBA 3x3 Universality Qualifying Tournament from June 4-6 in Debrecen, Hungary, which will feature six women’s teams from countries that did not have a basketball team at the 2012 or 2016 Olympic Games.

While 2020 proved to be a difficult year for basketball around the world, 2021 is shaping up to be one of the most exciting 3x3 seasons in history.