Team USA 2-0 after first day of FIBA 3×3 World Cup action

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Jacob Rice/Iowa State Daily

Ashley Joens shoots for three during the second round of the NCAA Tournament against No.6 Georgia on March 20, 2022. 

Christian Royston

The USA Basketball Women’s 3×3 National Team, with the help of Iowa State’s Ashley Joens, started its 2022 FIBA 3×3 World Cup with two straight wins Wednesday.

After a historic season for the Cyclones in 2022, Joens was ready to take her talents to the world stage. Although, competing for USA Basketball was nothing new to Joens, as she had made appearances twice before.

Joens earned gold medals as a member of the FIBA U18 Americas Championship team and FIBA U19 World Cup team in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Her success also spread to Iowa State, as she came away from the 2021-22 season as the first Cyclone ever to be selected to the WBCA All-America Team.

As Joens landed in Europe over the weekend, she immediately started prepping for the upcoming World Cup. As a whole, Team USA got good reps while they were in France, as they competed in the Big Twelve International Tournament.

The team finished the tournament with four wins, picking up wins against Italy, Great Britain and New Zealand. The final win against New Zealand gave them a good idea of how to tackle the first game of the FIBA World Cup, as they faced New Zealand in their opening game Wednesday. 

Team USA’s sole tournament loss came to Portugal on the first day. The team finished strong throughout the final days of the tournament, ending with just one loss.

The team as a whole was getting great practice working as one unit during the tournament, as Lauren Cox had the defense locked up to give Joens the opportunities to score on the outside.

After the trip to France, Joens — the Cyclones’ all-time leading scorer and two-time Cheryl Miller Award winner — started her trip to Belgium bright and early against New Zealand’s national team. Although Joens was quiet in that game, putting up just one point and four rebounds, Team USA breezed to a quick 19-14 win.

Joens showed why she was selected to the national team in the next game against Austria. Down 14-11, it looked like Austria had the game wrapped up.

However, Team USA never stopped fighting and came back to win 18-16. Joens tied for the most points on her team with six, alongside Hailey Van Lith, and had five rebounds to boot.

Joens had her 3-pointer — or 2-pointer in 3×3 competition — dialed in, making the only two shots from beyond the arc for Team USA to secure the win for her team. The win moved Team USA to 2-0 in pool play, leading Pool B alongside France.

Team USA will finish out pool play Friday morning against Brazil and France. After Friday’s games, Team USA will enter the knockout rounds over the weekend to decide the winner of the tournament.