29 August, 2015
05 September
13 Mengran SUN (China)
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Favourites end group play with a bang in Wuhan

WUHAN (2015 FIBA Asia Women's Championship) - Favourites Korea, Japan and China all ended their Group Phase games with aplomb, with all three collecting wins on Day 5 at the 2015 FIBA Asia Women’s Championship.

Korea extended their winning streak to three games in Level I (Group A), effectively thrashing India, 121-44.

Coach We Sung-Woo's team didn't waste any time, mounting a commanding 38-13 lead at the end of the first quarter that they would never relinquish.

Korea dominated nearly every facet of this game, outplaying their foes on both ends of the court. Korea won the battle of the boards (45-29), assists (35-9) and steals (27-3). Six players broke through the double-digit barrier, led by Kim Dan-Bi's 20 points. Youngster Park Ji-Su also impressed with 19 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals.

India, still reeling from a late game loss at the hands of Thailand on Tuesday, just couldn't find any rhythm in this game. Jeena Skaria was the only Indian player in double-figures with 15 points and 9 rebounds.

Japan underscored their dominance by blowing out Thailand, 95-43, and completing a sweep of group play.

The Japanese started the game like a house on fire, limiting Thailand to only 6 total points in the first quarter while scoring 26 of their own. That set the tone for the unqualified rout, which saw Japan walk away with the top seed heading into Friday's Semi-Finals.

As can be expected, the reigning champions outclassed the Thais in every imaginable way. They were better in most aspects, with the exception of free-throw shooting, where the Thais shot 80 percent, while Japan just connected on half of their charity shots.

Sanae Motokawa led Japan with 16 points in under 18 minutes, while Yuki Miyazawa had 15 points in under 14 minutes of play.

In the day's final game, China needed a strong finish to defeat Chinese Taipei, 76-62

Chinese Taipei played catch-up most of the way and still had a chance to steal the game in the fourth quarter, but the hosts were able to string together big buckets in the last five minutes to deflate their opponents' rally.

China didn't take good care of the ball in this game, coughing up 22 turnovers, 11 of which came from Chinese Taipei steals. Still, the home team survived thanks to good shooting. Coach Tom Maher's wards made nearly 50 percent of their field goals compared to Chinese Taipei's 42.3 percent shooting clip.

Chen Xiaojia bounced back from missing a bunch of free throws in China's previous game to lead them in scoring, with 17 points, grabbed 8 rebounds and dished out 3 assists. The 1.82m guard also sank 3 triples in a well-rounded effort. She was well seconded by three team-mates who also scored in double-figures, namely Shao Ting (15 points), Lu Wen (14 points), and Gao Song (12 points).

Chang Chi-Fang was the lone bright spot for coach Otis Hughley's squad, scoring 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting.

Earlier in the day, the Philippines rose to the top of Level II (Group B) after a dramatic overtime win over Kazakhstan, 80-73. Merenciana Arayi hit a barrage of threes bridging regulation and overtime to lead her team to the landmark triumph, which puts the Filipinas in a position to qualify for Level I (Group A) should they beat India on Friday. Arayi dropped 28 points to lead the victors, hitting 4 triples overall and making all twelve of her free throws.

Malaysia also won, subduing winless Sri Lanka, 57-33, to end their campaign on a high note and return home toting a 3-win, 2-loss slate. Eugene Ting was Malaysia’s best player here with 6 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists.

DPR Korea formalized their entry into the Qualifying Round with a win over Hong Kong, 66-43. This was a close fight in the first quarter, but the Koreans broke it open in the middle two periods to coast to the triumph. Ro Suk-Yong paced DPR Korea with a 20-point, 13-rebound double-double.

Thursday is a rest day and the action resumes on Friday with some high stakes games.

Thailand and DPR Korea face off in one of the Promotion/Relegation Games, while India tackle the Philippines in the other.

The Semi-Finals will see Chinese Taipei testing top-seed and defending champions Japan, while Korea tussle with China.