Ten 3x3 women to watch at Tokyo Olympics

23 Jul 2021

TOKYO (Japan) - The moment has arrived and 3x3's women stars are ready to shine at the Olympic Games from July 24-28.

The best 3x3 players will be in Tokyo to fulfil their Olympic dreams and here are 10 of the best.

Kelsey Plum (USA)

The Las Vegas Aces dynamo is the glue of star-studded USA. She of course has a dope game filled with crazy handles and many ankle breaks for opponents.

The 1.73m (5ft 8in) Plum has the confidence of a seven-footer.

The 26-year-old is the feel good story for mighty USA having endured an Achilles injury playing 3x3 early last year that would have ruled her out of the originally scheduled Tokyo Olympics.

Maybe it's her destiny to play at the Olympics and bring back gold for the hoops power with only gold on their mind.

Mai Yamamoto (Japan)

The 1.65m (5ft 5in) Japanese great hope is often the shortest player on the court yet mostly walks off the best. Forget everything you have believed in hoops – height does not matter in 3x3.

Yamamoto is living proof of this having dominated almost every competition she plays headlined by being the MVP at the FIBA U23 World Cup 2019 to secure Japan's first title in any form of hoops.

The 21-year-old's game is tastier than sushi and she's colder than Mt Fuji.

The suffocating pressure that will surround host Japan is unlikely to faze this young gun whose composed game resembles a veteran.

Allisha Gray (USA)

Good luck to those who have to make an attempt at defending the Dallas Wings star.

The lefty has the sweetest stroke and is wet from any spot on the court but stick close to her and she's driving past you faster than you can chant U-S-A.

She's one of the rare people who can look bad ass while wearing goggles. Maybe they give her that telekinetic ability that she seems to have on the court. If Allisha Gray were an X-Man, you would call her Jean Grey.

I'll end this with one last punchline. There's no shades of Gray with this 26-year-old – it's just shoot and score.

Anastasiia Logunova (Russian Olympic Committee)

The FIBA 3x3 Europe Cup 2017 MVP is unfair. She's a towering 1.92m (6ft 4in) but can glide to the rim easy as peasy.

The 26-year-old is a walking bucket and the main hope of a talented young Russian Olympic Committee team dreaming big in Tokyo.

She might be ice cool like Siberia but will arrive in Tokyo red hot having helped Russia finish second in Poitiers recently, where she was part of a deadly one-two punch with Mariia Cherepanova.

Laetitia Guapo (France)

The Frenchwoman is out to prove to the world that she's the No.1 ranked player for a reason. Guapo is a 3x3 wonder woman having dominated the Women's Series 2019 and forms the superhero duo with partner in crime Migna Touré.

The 25-year-old is a real life Marvel character and tests from the Kingston University proved she could have been an Olympic 100m sprinter, marathon runner or champion cyclist.

Thankfully in Tokyo she will be doing the thing that she's born to do – dominate 3x3.

Migna Touré (FRA)

If Guapo doesn't hit you then Toure will having won the the Women's Series 2019 MVP and she's a 3x3 household name highlighted by being a new Wilson ambassador.

The 1.80m (5ft 11in) megastar is unguardable and like Drake, she can take it to the left like she's ambidex'.

She's getting even better and comes into the Olympics more dangerous than Uma Thurman in Kill Bill.

The 26-year-old was the leading scorer in France's titles in Voiron and Poitiers and don't be surprised if she tops the charts in Tokyo too.

Sonia Ursu (Romania)

The Romanian 3x3 legend can make the Wilson talk. There aren't too many more skilful players than Ursu, who can cross up like she's in church before flipping it into the hoop or throwing the craziest dime imaginable.

The 27-year-old's bag is heavier than a shopping cart and she can get to her spot whenever she wants.

With Ursu finding her best, the No.3 seed head to Tokyo confident having impressed with third-place finishes in Voiron and Poitiers.

Khulan Onolbaatar (Mongolia)

You know how much this 1.80m (5ft 11in) prodigy is respected? Well she's the flag-bearer for Mongolia at the Olympics, the first-ever woman to get this honor.

And she deserves it having lit up the FIBA 3x3 U23 World Cup back in 2019.

The 21-year-old has proved she can make dreams come true for her three million compatriots who are riding this historic team's every move.

3x3's greatest fairy tale might just have the perfect ending in Tokyo.

Rae Lin D'Alie (ITA)

There might not be a more beloved 3x3 player than this Italian maestro. Known as 'Rae Rae' her game is simply beautiful and complete with the nastiest crossovers ever seen.

But she's the heart of European power Italy, who were the last team to secure Olympic qualification in Debrecen.

Of course, it was 'Rae Rae' who secured the ticket with the game-clinching bucket to cap a memorable ride which had previously peaked when she stole the show during her FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2018 MVP run.

No one wants it more than 'Rae Rae' who might just be able to inspire her country to another triumph in a magical period for Italian sports.

Zhang ZhiTing (China)

A depleted China have been written off to some degree. But don't be fooled because they still have Zhang ZhiTing, who might be the most intimidating player in Tokyo.

The (joint) tallest player in Tokyo at 1.96m (6ft 5in) is the only remaining member from China's memorable FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2019 triumph, where she was the fourth leading scorer.

Even extra defensive help won't stop Zhiting, who will either still score or make the right play and find an open teammate.

China's hopes of a podium finish rests with this tour de force.