Kelsey Plum scored a game-high 10 points, including the tie-breaking, game-ending 2-point basket, as the United States defeated China, 21-19, Monday in the Olympic 3X3 women’s basketball tournament.
There were six lead changes and nine ties in the pool-round game at Aomi Urban Sports Park, the last when Jiyuan Wan made a 1-point basket for China (4-2) with 41 seconds to play.
The WNBA‘s Plum, a La Jolla Country Day School alumna, ended the game seven seconds later with her second 2-point basket as the U.S. improved to 6-0 in the inaugural Olympic 3X3 tournament.
China “played really super physical,” said Plum, who was raised in Poway.
“For us, it is tough,” Plum said. “This is a hard tournament and you do not have an easy game. There is no rest. I thought we battled through things and there were no mistakes. And they hit some big shots, so credit to them for putting up a good fight.”
The U.S. concluded pool round play with a 20-18 loss to Japan Monday night California time. The Americans scored the game’s first five points and led 14-9 with 3:27 left.
Mai Yamamoto and Stephanie Mawuli each scored three points during a 7- 1 run that put Japan ahead, 16-15 with 2:01 to play. After two ties, Japan took a 19-17 lead on Mio Shinozaki’s 2-point basket with 1:03 remaining and led for the rest of the game.
Plum’s potentially game-tying 2-point shot as time expired was blocked by Mawuli.
Plum was held to two points, making two of five 1-point shots and missing all four of her 2-point shots.
The U.S. was assured of being the No. 1 seed in the single-elimination portion of the tournament entering the game against Japan.
Plum scored three points in a 17-13 victory over Italy earlier Monday, making all three of her 1-point shots, but missing all six of her 2-point shots and lone free throw.
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.
The U.S. is scheduled to play a semifinal game at 1 a.m. Wednesday against an opponent to be determined that will be televised by USA Network.