Four Blue Demons will participate in the 2019 USA Basketball 3×3 National Championships

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Four Blue Demons will participate in the 2019 USA Basketball 3×3 National Championships

DePaul freshman guard Lexi Held reacts as junior forward Chante Stonewall slaps the floor after making the game-tying shot with five seconds left in the game against Marquette. Stonewall, Held, Sonya Morris and Kelly Campbell will represent DePaul in the  2019 USA Basketball 3×3 National Championships on Friday and Saturday in Las Vegas.

DePaul freshman guard Lexi Held reacts as junior forward Chante Stonewall slaps the floor after making the game-tying shot with five seconds left in the game against Marquette. Stonewall, Held, Sonya Morris and Kelly Campbell will represent DePaul in the 2019 USA Basketball 3×3 National Championships on Friday and Saturday in Las Vegas.

Alexa Sandler / The DePaulia

DePaul freshman guard Lexi Held reacts as junior forward Chante Stonewall slaps the floor after making the game-tying shot with five seconds left in the game against Marquette. Stonewall, Held, Sonya Morris and Kelly Campbell will represent DePaul in the 2019 USA Basketball 3×3 National Championships on Friday and Saturday in Las Vegas.

Alexa Sandler / The DePaulia

Alexa Sandler / The DePaulia

DePaul freshman guard Lexi Held reacts as junior forward Chante Stonewall slaps the floor after making the game-tying shot with five seconds left in the game against Marquette. Stonewall, Held, Sonya Morris and Kelly Campbell will represent DePaul in the 2019 USA Basketball 3×3 National Championships on Friday and Saturday in Las Vegas.

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Chante Stonewall, Kelly Campbell, Lexi Held and Sonya Morris will be representing DePaul in the 2019 USA Basketball 3×3 National Championships on Friday and Saturday in Las Vegas.

The tournament will feature up to 16 men’s teams and 18 women’s teams competing amongst one another for their respective 3×3 title. This event will serve as the 2019 USA Basketball Men’s and Women’s 3×3 National Team trials.

Additionally, competing athletes are going to be in consideration for selection to the 2019 USA Men’s 3×3 World Cup team alongside the men’s and women’s 2019 U.S. Pan American Games 3×3 teams. This stage is the first step in USA Basketball’s pursuit to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The 3×3 format will be the first of its kind at the Olympics in 2020 after debuting on the international level at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games. Compared to playing in a full court format, 3×3 is played on a half court with a 10-minute game clock and a 12-second shot clock. The first team to either score 21 points or lead once the game clock expires wins the game.

USA Basketball invited 13 select NCAA Division I women’s programs to participate in the tournament with teams of four players each. Besides DePaul, the other schools with representatives will be Arizona State, Connecticut, Iowa State, Louisville, Maryland, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, Mississippi State, North Carolina State, Stanford, Texas and Oregon, the defending USA 3×3 National Championship gold medalist.

DePaul’s student-athletes were informed about the invitation in early April. Upon receiving the news, they began practicing in the 3×3 format immediately by playing with their other teammates and mixing up the combinations.

“It’s a wide-open, freelance style of basketball,” Campbell said. “Having a big player staying down low could be tough to face, but it’s just a 12-second shot clock. Everything will be moving much faster and that could tire out a bigger player.”

Three teams, the LA Dream Team, Still Ballin’ and WAC, advanced through qualifying tournaments. Furthermore, the remaining two women’s teams haven’t been created yet, but will consist of eight NCAA Division I basketball players.

Those players include Bella Alaire from Princeton, Janelle Bailey from North Carolina, Aleah Goodman and Destiny Slocum from Oregon State, Rebecca Hittner from Drake, Rhyne Howard from Kentucky, Jordan Lewis from Alabama and Michaela Onyenwere from UCLA.

“It will be the first time in my life there’s an opportunity to make an Olympic team,” Stonewall said. “How cool would that be? Getting an invitation to a USA Basketball event like this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Both the men’s and women’s teams earned their berths through a 3×3 qualifying tournament or an invitation from USA Basketball. The USA 3×3 Nationals tip-off with preliminary games on Friday, May 3 at 3:00 p.m. PDT at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center.