TOKYO - South Carolina alumna Allisha Gray tied for team-high honors with five rebounds to help power the United States win a gold medal in 3x3 basketball, topping the Russian Olympic Committee team 18-15 on Wednesday. In the sport's Olympic debut, the Americans finished the tournament with an 8-1 record, including Wednesday's semifinal and gold medal game victories.
The U.S. jumped out to a quick 6-1 lead before the Russian Olympic Committee team battled back to 9-5. The ROC was in foul trouble early, though, and the Americans went up 12-5 after a pair of free throws and an inside bucket with 3:53 to play. A couple of inside baskets and a U.S. turnover narrowed the gap to 12-9 with just over three minutes remaining.
The teams battled back and forth with ROC keeping the game within three or four points late. The U.S. was resilient at every turn with Gray at the forefront of that effort, grabbing three of her five rebounds in the final minutes of the games, including an offensive board that helped lead to a pair of Stefanie Dolson free throws that pushed the lead to 17-12 with 1:16 on the clock. Another two-point bucket brought ROC within three, but with just 44 seconds on the clock, the U.S. held off the comeback for the 18-15 victory and the first 3x3 gold medal in Olympic history.
In nine games of the tournament, Gray added 5.3 points per game and was a significant force defensively. She was second on the team with 4.7 rebounds per game, including a team-high 4.0 on the defensive end, and blocked a team-high nine shots over the nine games. She shot a team-best 31.3 percent from outside the arc (2-point range) and hit 57.8 percent from inside (1-point).
Gray came to the Gamecocks prior to the 2015-16 season, sitting out her first year due to NCAA transfer rules, then played an integral role in the program's run to the 2017 NCAA National Championship. She was the team's second-leading scorer at 13.2 points per game, and her quiet toughness and competitive fire made her a factor on the defensive end as well. Gray poured in 16.5 points per game during the 2017 NCAA Tournament to capture spots on the NCAA Stockton Regional and Final Four All-Tournament Teams. She went on to be the No. 4 pick in the 2017 WNBA Draft by the Dallas Wings and picked up WNBA Rookie of the Year honors.