Former Notre Dame basketball player Jackie Young wins gold in first-ever Olympic 3×3
Observer Sports Staff | Wednesday, July 28, 2021
Former Irish basketball star Jackie Young will take home a gold medal from the Olympic Games after she and the rest of Team USA’s women’s 3×3 basketball squad defeated the Russian Olympic Committee 18-15 on Wednesday.
This will be the first gold medal for the 23-year-old Princeton, Indiana, native. She will add this to her already stellar collection of trophies and accomplishments. Young is still Indiana’s all-time leading scorer in high school — for both boys and girls basketball — with 3,268 points. She won a national championship with the Fighting Irish in 2018, and most recently, she was the No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA Draft by the Las Vegas Aces in 2019. Later that year, she claimed a spot on the All-Rookie team.
Team USA went undefeated in the pool round, with Young contributing a total of 15 points across the seven games and making repetitive offensive and defensive rebounds.
These games last for 10 minutes or until the first team hits 21 points. But the catch is the usual two point shots are one point and three point shots are worth two in this half-court game.
For their gold medal win, Team USA gained an early 12-5 lead and maintained the lead for the rest of the game. Russia found a surge though with a minute and a half to go. After a missed shot from Young’s WNBA teammate Kelsey Plum, Stefanie Dolson of the Chicago Sky made two free throws thus putting the score at 17-12; a difficult gap to make up in a game of this structure. Russia cut that lead to three though with 44 seconds left but Dolson had one more rebound and put the ball back up to seal the win, 18-14. Russia scored once more but it wasn’t going to be enough to turn the tide.
Ultimately, Team USA went to the foul line 11 times while Russia did not go once. Those free throws made up eight of their final eighteen points. And, the U.S. was more aggressive with their rebounding, out-rebounding Russia 21-11.
With the intensity of these games, Jackie Young proved that Tokyo was the very best place for her Olympic debut in a sport that has been making its own successful debut.