LVFL Cierra Burdick and the 2023 USA 3×3 Women’s Basketball Team have captured the gold medal at the 2023 Pan American Games at Estadio Español in Santiago, Chile, finishing with a perfect 5-0 record. The USA men also completed a sweep en route to gold.
The USA women faced Colombia for the gold medal, and the USA’s size and experience were too much for the Colombians. The U.S. opened with a 4-0 run to set the tone in the wire-to-wire win. Colombia made a run at the 3:30 mark and brought the game back to a single possession, 14-12, but the American women played with composure down the stretch.
The stars and stripes used a 7-2 run to stifle the Colombian comeback and secure gold. The final bucket to take the win came from Azurá Stevens, who led the charge for the U.S. with 11 points, almost all of which came in the paint. Lexie Hull contributed five, Blake Dietrick scored three and Burdick added two points.
A native of Charlotte, N.C., Burdick played at Tennessee from 2011-15, earning 2015 All-SEC and AP All-America Honorable Mention distinction. She also was selected to the SEC Academic Honor Roll four times and to the SEC Community Service Team twice while being named a CSC Academic All-American and a UT Torchbearer in 2015.
The U.S. opened the day in front of a capacity crowd to take on host country Chile in the semifinals. The Chileans got in foul trouble early, allowing the Americans to take control of the game at the charity stripe. The USA made eight free throws en route to the 21-14 victory. Stevens had a team-high seven points, including a four-of-four day with free throws, to go with two blocks while Dietrick had six and the game-ending basket.
The quarterfinal round on Saturday saw the Americans defeat Venezuela, 21-6, with Burdick contributing three points toward the victory. Earlier in the day, in Group A play, USA dispatched Mexico, 21-9, with Burdick tallying five points. On Friday, USA opened group action with a 22-11 triumph over the Dominican Republic, with Burdick tossing in five points for her side.
Different than 5-on-5, 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 basket, defensive rebound or steal. The first team to score 21 points via 1-point field goals or 2-pointers behind the arc is victorious; or if time expires then the team leading wins.