10 women who defined 3x3 in 2021
MIES (Switzerland) - As we look back at a momentous year for 3x3, here are 10 women who left their mark on 2021.
Sonja Greinacher (Germany)
Trophy Cabinet in 2021: Women's Series Bucharest Final, Women's Series Constanta, Europe Cup Silver Medal
Personal Accolades: Bucharest Final MVP, Constanta MVP, Europe Cup team of the tournament, No.1 Women's Series in player value and rebounds
World Rank: 2
The 6ft. 3in (1.90m) towering German might have taken the crown as the most intimidating player in women's 3x3.
Greinacher has a full arsenal around the rim. But she's a two-way force and the leader of Germany's tough defense which fuelled their rise into one of the best teams on the women's circuit.
To round out her impressive skill set, Greinacher is probably the best rebounder in the business. All of that just one year after getting serious about 3x3. Now that she's a fully professional 3x3 player, sky's the limit for 'Sunny G'.
Sandra Ygueravide (Spain)
Trophy Cabinet in 2021: Europe Cup Gold Medal, Women's series Mies, Women's Series Montreal
Personal Accolades: Europe Cup MVP, Mies Masters MVP, Women's Series No.1 scorer, highlights and key assists
World Rank: 1
The speedy Spaniard had a lights out year where she ran the show for the European champions. She had one of the best individual efforts of the season during her domination of the Europe Cup, where she lit up Paris.
She set the standard in the Women's Series by claiming the MVP at the first stop in Mies and Ygueravide never let up to prove she just keeps getting better.
She deservedly finished the year as the No.1 women's 3x3 player to now sit on the throne.
Olga and Evgeniia Frolkina (Russia)
Trophy Cabinet in 2021: Olympic Silver Medal
Personal Accolades: 3rd leading scorer Olympics (Olga)
World Rank: 29 & 39
Ever heard of a better birthday celebration? The Frolkina twins celebrated their 24th birthdays by winning silver medals in 3x3's Olympic debut. Olga, in particular, was lights out on the biggest stage in sports by finishing the third leading scorer of the tournament. For the record, she also scored the first bucket in 3x3 Olympic history.
The twins have long starred in junior competitions but confirmed they are ready for the big time with the promise of more to come as Russia looms as a leading women's contender in 2022.
Many years from now, the Frolkina twins will still fondly remember their 24th birthday and the presents they received.
View this post on Instagram
Allisha Gray (USA)
Trophy Cabinet in 2021: Olympic Gold Medal
Personal Accolades: USA Basketball Player of the Year
World Rank: 771
Allisha Gray was the engine of USA's gold medal triumph at the Tokyo Olympics. Whenever they needed a bucket, the lefty showed more range than Alicia Keys while her jaw-dropping athleticism saw her guard all sizes.
But it was the Dallas Wings player's heart that stood out as she constantly grabbed rebounds in traffic and willed her team when they were under pressure. Her remarkable performance saw her deservedly win USA Basketball's 3x3 player of the year.
You know we like a nickname or two and we also know Allisha calls herself "Gold Medal Lish" on Twitch but we're gonna try "Goggle Trouble" and see if it sticks :-)
Marie-Eve Paget (France)
Trophy Cabinet in 2021: Europe Cup Bronze Medal, Women's Series Voiron, Women's Series Poitiers
Personal Accolades: Europe Cup team of the tournament,
World Rank: 13
This French dynamo can sometimes be overshadowed by star teammates Laetitia Guapo and Migna Touré but she might just be the heart and soul of Les Bleues.
Even though France fell short of podium finish at the Olympics, Paget still played with pride and unleashed her killer handles on the world stage.
She did claim a deserved medal shortly after when a spectacular Paget led France to bronze at the Europe Cup on home soil. The 5ft. 7in. (1.70m) Paget emerged from her high-profile teammates' giant shadows to become an outright superstar in her own right.
View this post on Instagram
Lili Wang (China)
Trophy Cabinet in 2021: Olympic Bronze Medal
Personal Accolades: 2nd leading scorer Olympics
World Rank: 608
Lili Wang emerged from Tokyo as a household name after leading underdog China to an Olympic bronze medal in a momentous feat that might prove to be a pivotal moment for 3x3 in China.
After a slew of injuries and without any international preparation, China were unfancied heading into Tokyo but the Lili Wang dismissed the critics with a lights out display highlighted by a 9-point explosion to topple No.1 France in a major upset to claim bronze.
Quite fittingly, she was wearing No.23 because Lili Wang played like the GOAT in Tokyo.
Raelin D'Alie (Italy)
Trophy Cabinet in 2021: Universality Olympic Qualifying Tournament winner
Personal Accolades: Universality Olympic Qualifying Tournament MVP
World Rank: 1971
After a disappointing performance in Graz, Raelin D'Alie wasn't gonna back down without getting her beloved Italy to the Olympics. In Debrecen she provided one of the most iconic moments of the year.
There was one ticket left for Tokyo and Italy were in a dogfight against host Hungary who were willed on by their fanatic fans. With the Olympics on the line, 'Rae Rae' was cold blooded in trademark style to hit the shot of a lifetime and make Italy's dreams come true.
It was the type of glory one of 3x3's best fittingly deserved.
Cierra Burdick (USA)
Trophy Cabinet in 2021: Women's Series Klaipeda, AmeriCup
Personal Accolades: Klaipeda MVP
World Rank: 333
One of 3x3's greats from the past was back and Cierra Burdick showed she could still dominate the 21-point game as she led USA to their first Women's Series title with victory in Klaipeda.
The 6ft. 3in. (1.90m) tour de force proved she was unstoppable down low with her athleticism and strength proving too hard to handle for defenders. In a double dose of bad news for opponents she is just as tough defensively as she proved at the FIBA 3x3 AmeriCup 2021 where she helped USA win gold.
She's set the standard for USA which has led to youngsters following in her footsteps, most notably FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup 2021 MVP Mikaylah Williams.
It was lit to see a 3x3 OG back on the circuit. Let's hope we see more of her in 2022 and beyond.
View this post on Instagram
Stephanie Mawuli (Japan)
Trophy Cabinet in 2021: NA
Personal Accolades: Olympic Qualifying Tournament MVP
World Rank: 1759
Remember the name. Heck, you already do after rising star Stephanie Mawuli became a Japanese sensation when she clinched her country's Olympic ticket with a buzzer beater in OT to beat European power Spain at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
She then inspired Japan to a strong performance as hosts at the Tokyo Olympic, which was highlighted by a major upset over eventual gold medalist USA. The 5ft. 11in (1.81m) Mawuli was a handful for opponents as she poured in a team best 48 points from 8 games.
Whichever way you spin it, Stephanie Mawuli is on the cusp of greatness.
Hortense Limouzin (France)
Trophy Cabinet in 2021: U23 Nations League Final
Personal Accolades: U23 Nations League MVP
World Rank: 292
She's quick, can handle the Wilson like a tennis ball and is a walking bucket getter. You have been introduced to her through the FIBA 3x3 U23 Nations League, where she lit up the competition en route to MVP honors.
Hotense Limouzin arrived in 2021 and her star is only going to get brighter.
Buckle up, a new French star has arrived.