Bengaluru, 2 Nov 2018: It’s defending champions China vs runners-up Japan all over again in 2018. It’s been a fairytale rivalry in the FIBA Asia Women’s (Under-18) basketball championships with both nations contesting the last five finals in a row with China emerging on top.
Japan produced power-packed display to conquer Australia 90-77 while China comfortably overcame Korea Republic 69-51 in the two semi-finals at the Sri Kanteerava Indoor Stadium on Friday.
The 15-times champions and four times runners-up, China stormed into their 20th final while Japan made their 12th entry into the final having won it once and being runners-up on ten occasions.
The Koreans last figured in the final in 2004 having lost to China and will have to wait for two more years to alter their records. This was Australia’s first campaign in the Asian zone.
Japan produced a dazzling display of super fast basketball. They were virtually like their bullet trains as Chinatsu Omeki in particular being lightning fast and also accurate in her conversions. Australia huffed and puffed to catch up with her as Japan virtuallyr an roughshod over them.
Japan built up a 31-16 lead as Nanako Todo, Ririka Okuyama, Chinatsu Omeki and Norika Kono were all among the scorers. But Australia managed to not only equalsie but also take a 39-38 lead midway up the second quarter.
But with Ririka Okuyama producing three pointers almost at will, Japan once again regained their lead at 60-45. From then on it was all Japan. The taller Australians struggled to match Japan pace and swift counters and though Meila Goodchild did her best with some accurate shooting, it was beyond the Australians to stage another comeback as Japan steadily increased the lead and won by a good margin of 13 points.
China were the more organized and comparatively error-free outfit compared to Korea. They moved in tandem and their shooting skills were far more accurate and divided-fetching than their opponents’. They were also able to vary the pace of their attacks.
China stormed into a 11-point lead as the game got going and Korea managed to find their first basket after a good four minutes had elapsed as Jihyun Park managed to roll it in after a good dash into the paint.
With the lanky Mingling Chen and Ziting Tang dipping the ball into the net attack adter attack, the Koreans found it tough to stop them. The gangling Yutong Liu being brought in very cleverly by the think tank, China kept up their 11-point lead for the most part as Yutong did well to station herself below the basket and then turn in the passes that were lobbed to her.
Korea were far too error-prone in their shooting and erratic in their shooting. They gave away possession with untimely release or else failed to find the target from near and from outside the paint as well. Often luck deserted them as the ball rolled out after dancing around the rim for precious and hopeful seconds.
Jihyun Park and Sohee Lee provided a lot of assists and egged their teammates on but China’s close marking prevented Korea from scoring.
Yet, the Koreans tried might and main to come back and managed to reduce the lead to just seven points midway through the final quarter at 50-57 but China pulled away again with a couple of two pointers and two free throw conversions. As time ticked away China got better and better to eventually win comfortably.
NEW ZEALAND WIN
New Zealand outclassed Chinese Taipei 75-47 to take the fifth spot. Chinese Taipei thus ended sixth. Indonesia placed seventh after defeating Malaysia, who ended last of eight nations and will be demoted to Division B for the next edition in 2020.
RESULTS: DIVISION A;
Korea Republic 51 (Jihyun Park 20, Sohee Lee 14, Inah Park 10) lost to China 69 (Mingling Chen 19, Ziting Tang 13); (13-24, 12-15, 16-13, 10-17).
Japan 90 (Nanako Todo 21, Ririka Okuyama 17, Chinatsu Omeki 12, Norika Kono 11) beat Australia 77 (Miela Goodchild 26, Isabel Leigh Palmer 9); (21-12, 17-27, 30-12, 22-28).
Classification 5th and 6th place
New Zealand 75 (Charlisse Leger-Walker 18) beat Chinese Taipei 47 (Yu-Chieh Chen 16); (14-9, 23-12, 19-18, 19-8).
India vs Hong Kong report to be sent later.
KAZAKSHTAN DOWN SYRIA
Kazakhstan defeated Syria 76-56 in the first semi-final of Division B at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium.
Iran beat Singapore 63-51 to take the fifth spot. Samoa had beaten Guam in the fight for the seventh and eighth slots.
Syria 56 (Noura Bshara 23) lost to Kazakhstan 76 (Inna Kulikova 19); (18-17, 16-20, 6-18, 16-21).
Classification 5th and 6th place
Iran 63 (F A Ghazvini 29 beat Singapore 51 (Esther Lim 14).
(13-18, 14-16, 17-10, 19-7).