Game Photos. Game Details and Stats
JOHOR BAHRU, Malaysia (21st FIBA Asia U18 Championship for Women): Yang Liwei provided the much needed spark as China shrugged off a gnawing, but gallant, Japan team for a 66-60 win and thus retain the gold medal in FIBA Asia U18 Championship for Women competitions.
The win also marked China’s unprecedented 13th gold medal in this event. Japan, on the other, hand having fought all their way through the gold medal game have to be content with the silver medal for the seventh time, second in a row.
Having fought on even keel, and the score tied at 47, Yang Liwei sent a sizzler from downtown that gave China the lead at the end of the third period. The Liaoning youngster repeated her act, from diametrically opposite side of the arc this time, to open the fourth quarter and China controlled the proceedings thereafter.
Yang Liwei had a game-high 22 points, and was the undoubted leader of China’s campaign.
It was Japan who controlled the early, and criticial middle part, pace of the game. Saori Miyazaki was superb in burning the basket from outside the arc and Miyuki Kawamura looked solid and stoic in keeping a check on Zhang Liting as Japan went into overdrive in the second period.
Miyazaki had 10 points, including back-to-back three-pointers, in this period when China looked more worn and weary than they were expected to.
Speed indeed, as expected, marked Japan’s approach during the entire game. China, on the other hand, played a more stalling game waiting for their opponents to tire themselves out.
With Zhang Wanglai and Qiang Yi providing the support for Yang Liwei to keep the scoreboard ticking for China, this ploy indeed paid rich dividends.
Even when Japan attempted to bounce back, China looked the more composed lot and better prepared to handle the crunch situations.
“It was a fantastic game. Full credit to the Japanese team,” said China game Li Xin.
“We are very fortunate to win this game against such a tough opposition. And of course we are very proud,” she added.
“I am proud of the way the girls fought. We knew it was going to be difficult and we came prepared. But in a game like small details make all the difference,” Japan coach Tatsushi Isshiki responded.