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WA native Hailey Van Lith makes US Olympics women’s 3×3 basketball team

Jun 5, 2024, 2:45 PM | Updated: 3:41 pm

Hailey Van Lith LSU TCU Paris Olympics 3x3 basketball...

Hailey Van Lith of LSU Tigers drives against Iowa on April 1, 2024. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

(Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Hailey Van Lith will represent the United States in 3×3 basketball at the Paris Olympics this summer along with Cameron Brink, Rhyne Howard and Cierra Burdick.

A 22-year-old guard, Van Lith was a prep basketball superstar at Cashmere High School and has since gone on to be a high-profile college player, recently transferring to TCU.

Van Lith averaged 11.6 points and 3.6 assists in her only season at LSU, joining the NCAA defending champions for the 2023-24 season. She starred at Louisville her first three years, leading the Cardinals to the Final Four in 2022. Louisville lost in the Elite Eight last year before she decided to transfer to LSU.

Van Lith has experienced success in 3×3 for the U.S., winning a gold medal on the U18 team in 2019 and helping win gold at the FIBA 3×3 World Cup last year. The Paris Games is the second Olympics offering 3×3, after the event debuted in Tokyo in the 2021 Games.

“What I remember most is that every game is so unique,” Van Lith told the AP in April about 3×3. “The strategy from game to game is so different. You can’t specialize in one thing and make it as a player in 3 on 3. You have to be able to guard every position for at least a couple of seconds.”

Playing in the training camp with so many WNBA players earlier this year helped Van Lith improve her game.

“Playing against them and seeing how I’m able to score and not score shows me what I need to get better at,” Van Lith said. “It’s a little taste of the league early.”

Brink, Burdick and Van Lith led the U.S. to a gold medal at the 2023 FIBA World Cup. Burdick was also on the squad that won gold in 2014. Howard played 3×3 for the first time with the U.S. at a training camp in Springfield, Massachusetts in April.

“It is an honor to announce the USA Basketball 3×3 Women’s National Team,” said Jay Demings, USA Basketball 3×3 national team director. “It is an exciting process to put a roster together that will represent the country on a global stage. We are thankful for all the athletes who attended training camps or participated in 3×3 competitions on the journey to Paris 2024.”

The sport requires that two of the four members of the team be in country’s top 10 for total points accumulated in FIBA rankings. Burdick, Brink and Van Lith are all ranked that high.

“I’m so grateful to be selected and it’s an honor to represent the United States at the Paris Olympics this year,” said Brink. “The 3×3 training camp experience helped me with my transition into the league, and now I can’t wait to start preparing for the games with Cierra, Rhyne and Hailey.”

Brink plays for the Los Angeles Sparks, Howard for the Atlanta Dream. Burdick isn’t in the WNBA anymore while Van Lith transferred to TCU this past spring.

The U.S. won the inaugural 3×3 title in the Tokyo Games with Allisha Gray, Stefanie Dolson, Jackie Young and Kelsey Plum.

The team will be coached by Jennifer Rizzotti, president of the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun. Tammi Reiss of Rhode Island will assist.

“I say this all the time but there is no greater privilege than to represent the USA at the Olympics,” said Rizzotti. “We understand that challenge in front of us as we face tremendous talent and experienced 3×3 teams. I am confident this roster gives us what we need to compete for another gold medal with experience, versatility and a commitment to USA Basketball excellence. I cannot wait to get started.”

The 3×3 game is played on a halfcourt with a 10-minute clock and 12-second shot clock. Games are played to 21 with 1-point and 2-point baskets. The first team to get to 21 or be leading when time expires wins the game.

The U.S. hasn’t announced its 5-on-5 roster yet. Howard was in consideration for that team as well, but it would be virtually impossible to play on both teams.

This post features excerpts from separate Associated Press articles and alterations by Seattle Sports staff.

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