On Thursday, 26 September 2019, the 2019 FIBA Women’s Asia Cup just finished its three-day’s Group Phase competition at the Kanteerava Indoor Stadium in Bangalore, India. The Chinese women’s national basketball team stuned Australia by 70-69 in the third and final round of the group games since September 24. The scores in each quarter were 19-20, 25-15, 12-16, 14-18 (China on the left).
Importantly, China has directly entered the Final Four of this tournament with this win. At the same time, for the Chinese women’s basketball national team, it was also its first victory over Australia in the past 25 years.
At the beginning of the first quarter, Li Yueru started the offense with a layup, but Australia quickly went on a 10-0 run, forcing the China’s side to call a timeout. Back from the timeout, Liu Jiacen firstly made a mid-range shot, followed by her assisting Han Xu to hit a layup. Soon afterwards, Li Yuan also made a fastbreak layup to further narrow the gap. Notably, Wang Siyu then scored five consecutive points with shots and free-throws as the scores rose on both sides. At the end of the opening quarter, China trailed 19-20.
In the second quarter, Yang Liwei made a 3-pointer to overtake the score. Wu Tongtong forced her way inside and then hit a layup. On the other side, Australia frequently got free-throws by drawing fouls in the inside. Both teams fought fiercely on the defensive end while China still maintained a lead. Wang Siyu continued to score inside; Gao Song’s 3-pointer and Han Xu’s 3-point play helped China enter the half-time break with a 9-point lead (44-35).
The fierce fight continued in the third quarter, although Australia managed to narrow the gap, giving China a 56-51 lead at the end of this quarter. Australia was able to tie the game at 65 with about 4 minutes to play in the final quarter. With 10.6 seconds left in the game, Australia still had a 1-point lead. But Shao Ting then made a quick lay-up and put China back on top again with only 5.9 seconds to go. In the final possession of the game, Australia made a fatal turnover and the ball was stealed by Chinese player Wang Siyu. The game ended with China beating Australia 70-69.
Among the 11 (out of 12) players of the Chinese national team who played in this game, Wang Siyu (Guard) had 18 points (the highest of the team), 4 rebounds and 3 assists (the highest of the team), Li Yueru (Center) had 14 points and 9 rebounds (the highest of the team) and 1 assist, Han Xu had (Center) 7 points and 5 rebounds, Gao Song (Power Forward) had 7 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists, Wu Tongtong (Point Guard) had 7 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist, and Shao Ting (Small Forward) had 6 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists.
There is a total of 7 women’s national basketball teams and the other 1 regional basketball team participating in this tournament event: India (the host nation), Japan, Australia, China, South Korea, Chinese Taipei, New Zealand and Philippines. China is in Group B with Australia, New Zealand and Philippines, while Group A consists of Japan, South Korea, Chinese Taipei and India. Within both groups, every team has played with each other for a total of three games.
According to the rule, the top teams in each group would automatically advance to the Semi-finals, while the next two teams in each group would qualify for the Playoffs (or Quarter-finals), where the 2nd placed team of one group would face the 3rd placed team of the other group for a spot in the Semi-finals.
Before the Thursday’s game with Australia, China also beat New Zealand by 67-44 on September 24, and swept Philippines by 104-57 on September 25. That is to say, after this stunning victory over Australia, China finished the group games with a 3-0 record as the top team in Group B and has advanced to the Semi-final directly. In the other group, Japan also had a 3-0 record and entered the Semi-final as well.
Based on the preliminary round (i.e. Group Phase) rankings in both Group A and Group B, the Chinese women’s national basketball team will then face either South Korea or New Zealand in the Semi-final to be played at 20:00pm on September 28; while the Quarter-final between South Korea and New Zealand was scheduled on September 27. Finally, China will compete in either the Final or the third place game on September 29.
At the same time, as Chinese women’s national basketball team advanced to the Final Four (or Semi-final) of the 2019 FIBA Women’s Asia Cup, it has also automatically secured the qualification for the Olympic pre-qualifying tournament in November 2019, which is the second stage of the qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.