May 11, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - For the eighth consecutive year and 10th time in 11 years, a Notre Dame women's basketball player will compete on the international stage, after Fighting Irish junior All-America guard Jewell Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill./Niles West) was selected to the USA Basketball 3x3 National Team that will compete June 5-8 in the second edition of the FIBA 3x3 World Championship in Moscow, Russia.
Loyd was named to the squad Sunday afternoon following the completion of the 2014 USA Basketball 3x3 National Championship that were held this weekend at the United States Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo. Joining Loyd on the American team will be three other collegians -- Cierra Burdick (Tennessee), Sara Hammond (Louisville) and Tiffany Mitchell (South Carolina) -- with the newly-crowned USA 3x3 Team (which went by the name "Team Takeover" during the tournament) going 7-0 en route to the national championship, winning by a 21-15 count in the title game, and Loyd earning tournament Most Valuable Player honors.
"Representing your country and doing something you love, there's nothing better than this. We now have to stay true, stay humble and go get the win (in Russia)," Loyd said. "It's been really fun. We've met some great people here, and it's a beautiful atmosphere with fun and fast games.
"I didn't do much (to win the MVP award)," she added. "This is all my teammates, and they should get this award, not just me."
Loyd earned a pair of individual honors this weekend, claiming the USA Basketball 3x3 National Championship Skills Challenge on Friday, in addition to her tournament MVP award. The USA 3x3 National Championship men's team had an added twist, as Team Ariel, led by current United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, took the title and will represent their country on the world stage in Moscow.
Loyd has past experience with USA Basketball, having earned a gold medal as a member of the 2010 USA Under-17 National Team that went 8-0 and claimed the title at the inaugural FIBA U17 World Championship in Toulouse, France. The Notre Dame junior was the Americans' top reserve at the 2010 U17 Worlds, averaging 8.6 points and 4.0 rebounds in eight games.
This year's FIBA 3x3 World Championship is the second in history, following the first in 2012, as well as the FIBA U18 3x3 World Championship tournament that began a year earlier. The 24-team event, which is held every other year, features four groups of six teams each, with each nation playing the other five in its group during round-robin play. The top four finishers in each group will advance to the knockout (medal) round.
Besides the United States, the other countries that are expected to compete at next month's FIBA 3x3 World Championship are: Andorra, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Romania, host Russia, Spain, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Uganda and Uruguay.
The rules for international 3x3 competition, although a bit more polished, are similar to those seen in pick-up games across the country. Games are 10 minutes in length or the first team to reach 21 points, scoring by ones and twos (a regular field goal is worth one point, a basket from beyond the arc is worth two points). There's also a 12-second shot clock and the team on defense must clear the ball out beyond the arc before beginning its offensive set. The games are officiated by one referee, with teams in the bonus (one free throw) after the seventh team foul, while shooting fouls are awarded one or two free throw attempts based on the location of the shot. A full rundown of the other rules for FIBA 3x3 competition can be found on the official FIBA 3x3 web site at www.fiba.com/3x3.
With Sunday's announcement, Notre Dame will have a player (future or present) participating in a FIBA 3x3 World Championship for the fourth consecutive year (each summer since the format debuted in 2011), with Fighting Irish representatives collecting three gold medals and a bronze in those four appearances. Former All-America point guard Skylar Diggins (who currently starts for the WNBA's Tulsa Shock) earned a gold with the 2012 USA 3x3 World Championship Team, helping that squad go a perfect 9-0 during the inaugural tournament, which was held in Athens, Greece. Like Loyd, Diggins also competed in the skills challenge, collecting a silver medal in that event.
Current Notre Dame sophomore forward Taya Reimer (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) played for Team USA at the inaugural FIBA U18 3x3 World Championship in Rimini, Italy, with the Americans earning an honorary bronze medal from FIBA after injuries sidelined two of their four players by the early stages of the semifinal round and caused the USA to forfeit its bronze medal game against Japan.
The past two summers, incoming Notre Dame freshman forward Brianna Turner (Pearland, Texas/Manvel) has played for USA Basketball at the FIBA U18 3x3 World Championship, helping the Stars & Stripes to gold medals in both 2012 (in Alcobendas, Spain) and 2013 (in Jakarta, Indonesia). In each tournament, Turner and her American teammates bounced back from a loss during the preliminary round (2012 vs. China, 2013 vs. Lithuania) to roll through the remainder of the event and claim the gold.
Turner has earned a total of five USA Basketball gold medals in her young career, having also played on victorious American squads at the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship, the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship and the 2013 FIBA Americas U18 3x3 Championship. What's more, she is one of 28 players who were invited to the 2014 USA Basketball U18 National Team Trials May 24-26 in Colorado Springs, with those participants competing for a place on the 12-player roster that will represent the USA at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship Aug. 6-10, also in Colorado Springs.
Led by Loyd, Notre Dame is expected to return two starters and 10 monogram recipients from this year's squad that went 37-1, advancing to its fourth consecutive NCAA Women's Final Four and its third NCAA national championship game in four seasons, while also winning the ACC regular season and tournament titles. The Fighting Irish also will welcome a three-player incoming class that has been ranked as high as third in the nation by several national recruiting services, and includes Turner, the 2013-14 Gatorade National High School Player of the Year and 2014 McDonald's High School All-America Game Most Valuable Player.
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-- Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director