Kelsey Plum in motion with the U.S. nationwide staff in February 2020. (AP Photograph/Wade Payne)
Proper after securing a spot within the Tokyo Olympics as a member of the U.S. girls’s 3×3 basketball staff on Sunday, Kelsey Plum paused for a second to take all of it in earlier than rattling off a listing of individuals she wished to acknowledge.
“I simply need to thank lots of people: God, my mother, my household, my pals,” she said. “I need to thank USA Basketball. They may’ve stop on me. They may’ve stated, ‘We’re going to carry any individual else,’ and so they didn’t. I’m simply tremendous grateful to my teammates, I imply, man, this was a battle.”
“We’ll the Olympics child.” 🇺🇸
Kelsey Plum talked about how grateful she is after Workforce USA certified for the Olympics in 3×3 basketball 🙌 @Kelseyplum10
— espnW (@espnW) May 31, 2021
Plum, together with fellow WNBA gamers Katie Lou Samuelson, Stefanie Dolson and Allisha Grey, defeated Spain, 21-13, within the semifinals of the qualifying tournament to ensure a spot on this summer season’s Olympics.
Take a look at Kelsey Plum work…all of them balled out in 3×3 basketball and are actually Olympics certain 💪
— WNBA (@WNBA) May 31, 2021
The 12-second shot clock and totally different scoring system took some getting used to for Plum. Pictures contained in the arc are price one level and conventional 3-pointers are price two. The winner is the primary staff to 21 or whoever is forward after 10 minutes.
“Three-on-three is somewhat bit totally different,” Plum stated on the Sports Spectrum Podcast final yr. “It has totally different guidelines, you play with a unique ball, it’s a unique tempo of a recreation. It’s been fascinating flip-flopping between the 2.”
Whereas 3×3 is making its Olympic debut, 5×5 basketball is definitely extra acquainted to Plum, and she or he’s additionally within the pool of players who may symbolize the U.S. in that occasion in Tokyo. The all-time main scorer in Division I girls’s basketball historical past, Plum was taken first general out of Washington within the 2017 WNBA Draft by the San Antonio Silver Stars. The staff relocated after her rookie season and have become the Las Vegas Aces.
Adjusting to the skilled recreation whereas coping with the lofty expectations positioned upon her was a problem for Plum. Hastily, success wasn’t coming as simply and the awards weren’t piling up.
“I form of needed to undergo life and determine what’s essential,” she stated in a 2019 Sports Spectrum Magazine feature with Aces teammate A’ja Wilson. “It takes plenty of failure and errors and humility to have the ability to see that I want a relationship with God.”
Her breakout second got here within the 2019 WNBA playoffs, when she averaged 15.2 factors and seven.8 assists in Las Vegas’ 5 video games. Then adversity struck once more.
Whereas enjoying 3×3 basketball in preparation for Olympic qualifying in June 2020, Plum tore her Achilles. The harm compelled her to overlook your entire 2020 WNBA season and put her Olympic goals unsure.
She performed in her first WNBA recreation because the 2019 postseason on Might 15, scoring 11 factors and meting out 4 assists in a loss to the defending-champion Seattle Storm. Plum appeared in yet one more recreation earlier than heading off to Austria for the qualifying event.
The trials the 26-year-old has endured have helped her understand her identification just isn’t in basketball, and ensure the game doesn’t outline her. She sees God at work in her journey and needs to share His love with others.
“I’m tremendous grateful as a result of I believe that He’s all the time actually been very exact about precisely the place He wished me to be and He’s put sure individuals in my life to essentially assist me,” Plum stated on the podcast. “I’m simply tremendous grateful, so I believe for me, as I proceed to develop into a girl and a girl of religion, I attempt to guarantee that I’m a lightweight.”
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