Allisha Gray grew up in the small town of Sandersville, Georgia and she has a message for young people.
“The biggest thing is to follow your dreams. I come from a very small town where everybody knows everybody,” she said. “I just hope I can be an inspiration for all the young girls and boys.
“Just follow your dreams and you can make it one day to the big Olympic stage like I have.”
Gray, a guard for the WNBA’s Dallas Wings, won a gold medal on Wednesday as a member of the four-team U.S. Olympic 3×3 Women’s Basketball Team, the first time this competition has been an Olympic sport. USA finished competition (8-1) and earned the first gold medal in Olympic 3×3 basketball history after defeating the Russian Olympic Committee (6-3) 18-15 on Wednesday night at Aomi Urban Sports
Park in Tokyo.
The other members of the team are Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young of the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces, and Stefanie Dolson of the WNBA’s Chicago Sky. The USA coach is Kara Lawson (Duke University). In FIBA 3×3 basketball, coaches are not allowed during games.
“An (Olympic) gold medal, that’s like top tier of my career,” said Gray. “I think the only way to top this is to win another gold medal. I don’t think any other accomplishment of my career can top this. The gold medal sits at the very top.”
“It is incredible,” said Dolson who led the USA in points and rebounds with seven and nine in the gold medal game. “Basketball runs deep in the USA and to pull this off and win gold is incredible.”
For the tournament, Plum led all scorers with 6.1 ppg., while Dolson was sixth at 5.7 ppg. and Gray was ninth at 5.3 ppg. Additionally, Gray led all competitors in blocked shots (1.0 bpg.) and tied for the lead in defensive rebounds (3.9 rpg.); Plum and Dolson were No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in 1-point shooting percentage at 70.0% and 69.0%; while Dolson was third in defensive rebounds at 3.7.
As a team, the USA was No. 1 in six statistical categories, including points per game (19.1), defensive rebounds (12.2 rpg.) and 1-point shooting percentage (62.0%).