LONDON, United Kingdom (2012 London Olympics): The task for China in their quest for the first medal in the Olympic women’s basketball competition after a gap of two decades looks uphill, challenging and to say the least daunting.
The reigning FIBA Asia Championship for Women are pitted against 2008 Beijing Olympics silver medalists and the No 2 ranked team in FIBA World Rankings for Women Australia in the quarterfinals scheduled for Tuesday.
China are marginally behind Australia – their quarterfinal opponents – in head-to-head meetings having won three of their seven clashes in international competitions, but their last win came as way back as at the 1994 World Championship for Women at Sydney. And in the most recent clash, when the two met in the semifinals of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Australia won 90-56.
“We watched Australia’s matches and I thought they were not in their best form,” said Nan Chen (pic above), China’s leading scorer in the competition with an average of 17.6 points per game
“We won’t give up and we will fight with everything we have,” who is also the team’s leading rebounder with 6.6 collections per game.
Should China get past Australia in the quarterfinals, their semifinal opponents in all probability will be the USA once again. The American women who are riding an unbeaten record across six Olympics are slated to meet cross-border fellow FIBA Americas team Canada in the quarterfinals.
For the record, the last time the USA women’s team lost a game in the Olympic women’s basketball competition was when they lost 73-79 to Commonwealth of Independent States – a temporary regional organization comprising the breaking away Soviet Republics during the breakup of the Soviet Union – in the semifinals at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
USA recovered from that defeat and beat Cuba in the bronze medal play-off and have since then have won all the games they have played, including the five games here so far. The USA had identical 8-0 records while winning their gold medal at 1996 Atlanta, 2000 Sydney, 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympics.
In the quarterfinals of the other half, 2008 Beijing Olympics bronze medalists Russia will take on Turkey – a repeat of the 2011 Eurobasket for Women gold medal game which the former won – and the hot-streaking France taking on 2010 FIBA World Championship for Women silver medalists Czech Republic.
All quarterfinal games are scheduled for Tuesday. Click here for quarterfinals schedule