Mara Braun is coming back to Minnesota with a championship
Braun, the Wayzata native about to start her sophomore season for the Gophers, was part of a four-woman team that won gold at the FIBA 3x3 Nations League tournament in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
The Team USA U21 team — which includes Braun, Christina Dalce (Villanova), Morgan Maly (Creighton) and Lucy Olson (Villanova) — beat Egypt, the Team USA U23 team and China on the way to winning the first title the United States has ever won in the event. Overall, Braun's team went 6-0 in the tournament.
And Braun was a big part of it, tying for the team's scoring lead with six points in the championship game against China.
She averaged four points per game over the six games in the tournament, a half-court three-on-three format where shots from behind the arc are worth two points and shots inside are worth one. Teams play to 21 or until a 10-minute clock has run out.
Braun's team trailed by three with 5:22 left to play. But Braun scored all six of her points in the game over the next 3-plus minutes as Team USA took a 15-14 lead with 88 seconds left. With the game tied and 21 seconds remaining, Maly got an offensive rebound and scored on a put-back for a 19-18 win. Combined with their record in the Nations League Event held in Handan, China earlier this year, Team USA's U21 team went 12-1 overall.