SAN DIEGO — La Jolla Country Day School alumnus Kelsey Plum scored four points helping the U.S. women's 3X3 basketball team qualify for the Tokyo Olympics with a 21-13 victory over Spain in a semifinal of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament today in Graz, Austria.
Plum had two assists, including on Stephanie Dolson's basket with 21.2 seconds to play that ended the game.
"We're just really excited," Plum said. "I love this team and we have a lot of fun."
The U.S. opened the game by outscoring Spain 6-2. Spain cut the deficit to 7-6. The U.S. responded by scoring six unanswered points for a 13-6 lead and led by at least four for the rest of the game.
The U.S. defeated Belarus, 21-13, in a quarterfinal earlier Sunday, with Plum scoring a game-high seven points.
"I think the biggest overall thing for both games, which is what (coach) Kara (Lawson) has always emphasized, is at the end of the day, it is our pace that helps us win," Plum said. "We continue to find a way to win, and it was really cool to see that happen, especially in the Spain game, because it was pretty close, it was back and forth."
Plum was the U.S.' leading scorer in the tournament, averaging 5.3 points in six games, all victories.
France, which defeated Japan, 15-14, in the other semifinal, also qualified for the Olympics, as did Japan, which defeated Spain, 20-18, in the third-place game.
Plum was initially chosen on Feb. 17, 2020, for the U.S. women's 3X3 team that was to attempt to qualify for the Olympics the following month in Bengaluru, India. The tournament and the Olympics were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Plum tore an Achilles tendon while playing with her WNBA team, the Las Vegas Aces, last June and was sidelined for the rest of the season.
"For me, this has been a real journey," Plum said. "I kind of thought my dreams were over, because of the Achilles. And you know, with COVID and everything that's been postponed, it just kind of made it happen. So, I'm just really grateful for this and trying to enjoy it."
The inaugural 3x3 Olympic basketball competition will be held July 24- 28. 3X3 is played with a 12-second shot clock on a half court. Baskets inside the arc and free throws are worth one point and baskets made from outside the arc are worth two points. The winner is the first team to score 21 points or the leading team at the end of the 10-minute game clock.
Plum led La Jolla County Day to the 2012 CIF Division IV state championship. She scored an NCAA-record 3,527 points in her four seasons at Washington, including the single-season record, 1,109, as a senior in the 2016- 17 season.
Plum was the first overall selection in the 2017 WNBA draft by the San Antonio Stars. The team moved to Las Vegas before the start of the 2018 season.
Watch: HIGHLIGHTS USA Women Qualify for the Olympics