Tokyo Olympics Day 1: Another Duke basketball coach going for gold

Allisha Gray, who started her college career at UNC, passes around France’s Mamignan Toure during Team USA’s opening game victory in the Olympic 3-on-3 basketball competition Saturday (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Mike Krzyewski isn’t leading the U.S. men’s basketball team at the Olympics this year, so it’s up to women’s coach Kara Lawson to uphold the Blue Devils’ gold medal tradition.

Lawson is coaching the U.S. women’s 3-on-3 team in the first ever competition in the new event. And so far, she’s off to a good start. Her squad won twice on the opening day of the Tokyo Games, beating France 17-10 before rolling to a 21-9 rout of Mongolia.

Stephanie Dolson of the WNBA’s Chicago Sky scored a team-leading seven points in the win against France, a game attended by both first lady Dr. Jill Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron. Allisha Gray, who played her first two college seasons at North Carolina before transferring to South Carolina, was the top individual scorer in the Mongolia game with nine points.

Here are some of the highlights from Day 1 of the Tokyo Games:

Medal Count

…………………………………………….Gold    Silver    Bronze    Total

China                                              3            0            1              4

S. Korea                                          1            0            2              3

Italy                                                 1            1             0             2

Japan                                              1            1             0             2

USA                                                 0           0            0              0

Carolina Connections

North Carolina Courage star Debhina scored her team’s first goal of the Games while helping Brazil to a 3-3 tie against the Netherlands. Debhina’s Courage teammate Abby Erceg also put the ball in the net during Saturday’s women’s soccer action. Unfortunately for the New Zealand star, the goal counted for the wrong team as part of a 6-1 loss to the United States.

UNC’s Lucy Bronze helped England to a 1-0 win against host Japan by recording an assist on the game’s only goal — 74th minute tally by teammate Ellen White.

In the Olympic pool, Cary teenager Claire Curzan easily qualified for Sunday’s semifinals in the 100-meter butterfly by finishing third in her first round heat in a time of 57.49.

The result wasn’t as good for Greenville’s Tommy Paul, who lost his first round singles tennis match 6-3, 6-2 to Russian Aslan Karatsev.

First Gold

China’s Yang Qian has won the first gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics in women’s 10-meter air rifle. Yang overtook Anastasiia Galashina when the Russian missed the center two rings for an 8.9 on her final shot. Yang had a 9.8 on her final shot and finished with an Olympic record 251.8. Galashina finished at 251.1. Switzerland’s Nina Christen took bronze.

Team USA Highlights

The Americans bounced back from a listless 3-0 loss to Sweden in its Olympic opener to score an overwhelming 6-1 victory against New Zealand with first lady- Biden in attendance.

Rose Lavelle got things started early by converting a pass from UNC graduate Tobin Heath in the ninth minute. Lindsey Horan, playing her 100th game with the national team, scored on a header just before halftime. Team USA then broke the game open in the second half on goals by Christen Press and Alex Morgan to go along with a pair of New Zealand own goals.

As lopsided as the score was, it could have been worse. Team USA had four first half goals nullified by offside calls. …

The men’s gymnastics team qualified for Monday night’s final along with Japan, England, Switzerland, Germany and Ukraine. Americans Brody Malone and three-time Olympian Sam Mikulak reached the all-around finals for the. Malone, the reigning national champion, finished 11th with Mikulak 14th.

Cat Osterman pitched six innings of one-hit ball and Monica Abbott struck out the side in the seventh, helping the top-ranked U.S. shut out No. 5 Mexico 2-0 in softball action. Ali Aguilar provided a two-run single in the third that was just enough for the Americans to improve to 3-0 as the country tries to regain the Olympic gold medal.

NC State’s Tatyana Forbes entered the game for Mexico as a defensive replacment in the seventh inning. She has one hit in five at bats in three games thus far in Tokyo. … 

Four-time Olympian and 2008 gold medalist Phil Dalhausser and his teammate Nick Lucena lost to defending bronze medalists Robert Meeuwsen and Alexander Brouwer of the Netherlands 21-17, 21-18 in the opening round of the beach volleyball competition. Dalhausser has been in modified quarantine because he is considered a close contact of fellow beach volleyball player Taylor Crabb, who withdrew after testing positive for COVID-19. Dalhausser sat near Crabb on a flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco before heading over to Japan.

The Associated Press contributed to this story