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China down Japan for second successive title
MEDAN (2015 FIBA Asia U16 Women's Championship) – China defended their FIBA Asia U16 Women's Championship in grand style with a breezy 95-72 win Japan, thus leaving the latter with their second successive second place finish in the event.
Earlier, Korea warded off a spirited Chinese Taipei 60-52 in the third place play-off and became the third Asian team to book their ticket to the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship for Women to be played in Spain.
A 12-1 run, triggered by Yongna Song's buzzer-beating three-pointer at the end of the first quarter (24-23) gave China the needed impetus to break away from a seemingly even-keeled position.
A series of fouls, including one unsportsmanlike and the subsequent conversion of free-throws helped Japan cut back the deficit to six, midway through the second period, but China held the edge at the half-time (46-38).
A change in tactics after the break – applying full-court press – helped Japan mount pressure and reap rewards leveling the scores at 53, and keep the scores close after that till 61.
Li Yueru's three-point play spurred another Chinese run as Lingge Zhang came up with another similar effort and Jiaqi Wang's lay-up put China 69-61 ahead at the end of the penultimate period.
Lingge Zhang and Jiaqi Wang combined yet again at the start of the fourth period with help coming from Li Yueru and Li Shan as China raked up a 17-2 run in the first five minutes and cruised along after that.
Li Yueru finished with 31 points and 18 rebounds sharing the scoring honors for the game with Izumi Abe.
Lingge Zhang added 19 points.
Korea scored 11 of the first 13 points of the game before Taipei hit back cutting the deficit to two at the end of the first period.
Tzu-Yi Wang scored on the paint and Wei-Ju Wu converted both the free-throws in the opening moments of the second quarter to put Taipei ahead for the first time in the game.
Exchanges remained equal and the situation on scoreboard remained almost on par for the remainder of the first half before till Korea seized the initiative scoring the first eight points of the second half.
Korea held their focus thereafter to keep a gnawing Taipei at bay and seal their second successive third place finish in this event.
Hyunji Park's double-double of 18 points and 20 rebounds studded Korea's win. Sohee Lee who punched the cards at the crucial moments added 16 points.
Yu-Lin Kao reeled in three of her five three-pointer attempts for 13 points to lead Taipei. Si-Han Wen had a dozen points, half of them coming in the final period.