(All timing IST GMT+5:30)
1400 Hrs: Japan vs Chinese Taipei
1600 Hrs: Korea vs China
CHENNAI (23rd FIBA Asia Women Championship) - Defending champions Korea and last edition’s silver medalists China will clash for the gold medal in the FIBA Asia Women Championship for the third straight time after the two scored comfortable win – although the margin of victory might look deceptively otherwise – in the semifinals on Wednesday.
Korea dominated the proceedings completely before blowing away Japan 101-57 and China played hide-and-seek with Chinese Taipei before winning 70-59 to notch their 100th triumph in FIBA Asia Women Championships.
Thursday’s clash for the gold medal between the two East Asian giants – who represented FIBA Asia in the Beijing Olympics will be the 15th time overall – third straight time – the two meet in the final.
China have an 8-6 advantage in the gold medal games against Korea – although the latter enjoy a 13-12 edge in the overall head-to-head.
Korea playing their third successive final – and 21st overall – seek to retain the gold they won at home two years ago, along with bagging it a record 13th time.
China, who play their sixth straight final – 16th overall – aim for their 10th gold.
Korea 101 bt Japan 57
Beon Yeonha began the scoring for the game with a trademark three-pointer and Korea scored the first seven points of the game.
Beon Yeonha scored 10 of her 12 points for the game in the first quarter at the end of which Korea led by a staggering 33-5.
Kim Kwe Ryong scored nine of her game-high 19 and Jung Sunmin fired six points in the opening quarter.
Korea never looked back from there, and all three were sparingly used after that.
Kim Jungeun came into her own scoring 14 points and Park Jungeun added another doezen.
Giant centre Ha Eunjoo was fielded for only seven minutes in the game – that too in the fourth quarter – but the 202 cm former WNBA player shot a 4/5 on the field.
“It’s nice to beat a good team. Especially in a semifinal game at this level,” said Korea coach Lim Dal Shik.
“Well, we didn’t expect it to be this easy, but then nothing is easy at this level. Just that we executed our plans well,” he added.
“And we didn’t execute ours,” said Japanese coach Fumikazu Nakagawa.
“They played with a lot of fire in their belly. I think losing to China last night spurred them a lot,” said Japan guard Yuka Oga, who scored a mere two points during her meager 13:27 presence.
Kumiko Yamada was the highest scorer for Japan with 12 points.
China 70 bt Chinese Taipei 59
Chen Xiaoli and Bian Lan scored eight points each – the former with a 100% field record (4/4) and fired in a sizzling three-pointer to put her team in control – as China went ahead 27-17 at the end of the first quarter.
China did not have worry too much after that although Taipei kept clipping off the lead.
Taipei even managed to take a 43-42 lead early in the third quarter when Ma Yi-hung capped her brisk fast break.
But China unleashed an all-round scoring show and shot back with vigour and vengeance outscoring their rivals 14-2 during the rest of the period.
Thenceforth, China did not bother to take any huge lead nor did they have to bother too much.
Chen Xiaoli and Liu Dan shared the scoring honours for the game with a dozen each – the latter adding another game-high of seven rebounds.
Bian Lan and Chen Nan chipped in with 10 points each.
“They will come at us really hard, especially after the defeat yesterday,” said China coach Sun Fengwu.
“But today’s win has refreshed us,” he added.
Chen Hui-yun was the highest scorer for Taipei with 11.