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03/11/2018
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Yuan Li leads China to fifth straight FIBA U18 Women's Asian Championship title

BENGALURU (FIBA U18 Women's Asian Championship 2018) – China beat old rivals Japan 89-76 in the finals to clinch its 16th title at the FIBA U18 Women's Asian Championship. 

Led by its phenomenal point guard Yuan Li, China underlined its dominance at the U18 Women's Asian level with a clinical victory.

The two sides had met earlier in the Group Phase, with Japan winning that encounter 94-79.

The finals began with Japan seemingly continuing where it left off, building an early 22-19 lead in the first quarter. 

Both teams had their defensive strategies ironed out. Japan was keen to keep China out of the paint, while China was intent on preventing any clean outside looks to its sharpshooting rivals.

By halftime, the sides were locked at 38.

 

The change of ends did wonder for China, which went on a massive 33-14 run. Point guard Li was central to China's success. Li, who is also a member of the senior China team that competed at the Women's World Cup, dictated the tempo of the game. 

She had 28 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists, but more important than her numbers was her ability to make the right play on almost every possession. 

As a team, China also restricted Japan to just 1/11 (9%) from beyond the arc, which, in the final analysis, proved to be a game changing statistic. With Japan being denied open looks from downtown, it was repeatedly forced to attempt tough layups against China's tall frontcourt. 

Yuan Li wasn't the only China player to stuff the statsheet. Center Mingling Chen had yet another double double, while guard Zhou Fang came off the bench to score 17 points. 

Center Mingling Chen had yet another double double for China.

Meanwhile, Japan had four players scoring 10+ points each, but it wasn't nearly enough against this exceptionally balanced Chinese team. Japan's quest for a FIBA U18 Women's Asian Championship will need to wait for another two years. 

Earlier on, in the 3rd-4th classification game, Australia avenged its group phase loss to Korea, to finish with the bronze medal. 

Final Standings

1) China
2) Japan
3) Australia
4) Korea
5) New Zealand
6) Chinese Taipei
7) Indonesia
8) Malaysia

 FIBA