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Ionescu-led Team USA claims 3x3 hoops gold

A U.S. team led by Oregon guard Sabrina Ionescu won the gold medal in 3x3 women's basketball on Monday at the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru.

The U.S. squad, nicknamed the "Duskies," combined two players from the Oregon Ducks, seniors Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard, and two from the UConn Huskies, sophomores Christyn Williams and Olivia Nelson-Ododa.

They went 7-0 in the competition, capped by a 21-17 victory over Argentina in Monday's gold medal game. They had a 21-5 rout of Brazil in the semifinals earlier Monday after playing preliminary games Saturday and Sunday.

In 3x3 competition, games are played for 10 minutes or until a team gets to 21 points. Shots from inside the arc and free throws count for one point, and shots from behind the arc count for two points. There are no coaches, with each team made up of four players: three on the court and one substitute.

In the final, Ionescu made one of two free throws to increase the U.S. advantage to 20-17. Then Ionescu passed to Hebard inside for the game-winning point with eight seconds left. Ionescu and Hebard each scored seven points, Williams added five, and Nelson-Ododa had two.

It was the first time 3x3 was contested at the Pan Am Games. The sport will make its Olympic debut for women and men in the 2020 Tokyo Games. But there is concern whether the U.S. women, who are seeking their seventh consecutive Olympic gold in five-on-five, will qualify for 3x3 in the 2020 Summer Games because of the difficulty in accumulating points.