For the second time this year rising sophomore guard Mara Braun will be representing Team USA as a member of a 3×3 squad. Braun, along with three others, have been selected for the 2023 FIBA 3×3 U23 Nations League Final in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, that will take place from Sept. 13-15.
The two U23 teams of the hosting National Federation (Mongolia) and the winners of each conference (including the U21 conferences) have qualified to the 2023 final. There are a record 13 conferences this year, including the new Asia-Oceania conference, with a total of 14 teams participating in Mongolia. Of note, USA Basketball will have two teams representing them in Mongolia after the U23 roster of Hailey Van Lith (LSU), Azana Baines (Seton Hall), Leilani Kapinus (Penn State), Azana Baines (Seton Hall), Dyaisha Fair (Syracuse) and Sydney Taylor (Louisville) qualified themselves to the Nations League Final as well in Chile back in July.
Braun, a Wayzata, Minn., product, made her Team USA 3×3 debut earlier this summer in Handan, China, at the FIBA 3×3 U21 Nations League Asia-Pacific conference matchup. Braun participated in five of the six days of competition, only sitting out the first day of the competition as only four of the five individuals on the roster played each day. In 13 games Braun played, the United States women finished 12-1, only falling to China in the Stop 2 final in a narrow one-point defeat.
Braun, who wears No. 11 with the Red, White and Blue, was an offensive force throughout the competition in Handan, scoring 66 points in 13 games, highlighted by a 17-point performance during the penultimate tournament which was the third-most by any individual during Stop 5. Braun’s best one-game point total came against Chile where she scored nine of the team’s 21 points, including hitting three shots from beyond the arc.
Launched in 2017, the men’s and women’s FIBA 3×3 Nations League features two age groups – U23 and U21 – with dozens of national federations competing. Different from five-on-five, 3×3 is played on a half-court with a 10-minute game clock and 12-second shot clock. Play is continuous, as teams “clear” the ball behind the 2-point line following a made basketball, defensive rebound or steal. The first team to score 21 points via 1-pointer field goals or 2-pointers behind the arc is victorious; or if time expires then the team leading wins.
(info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)