22 - 30
September 2018
7 Ting Shao (CHN)
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Shao revels in finally ending seven years of hurt against Japan

TENERIFE (FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2018) - Up until punching a ticket to the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2018 Quarter-Finals, you had to push the rewind button back quite some way to remember the last time China had beaten Japan in a major tournament.

You can call it a curse, or Japan just having the upper hand - but for Ting Shao, it really doesn't matter either way. China's barren streak against their arch rivals has been ended and the prize of a spot in the Last Eight in Tenerife makes it taste even sweeter.

It's been a painful ride for the forward. She arrived into the senior team picture at the start of a tough transition period, when China were waving goodbye to an era and specifically, their veteran core. A core which for so long, had cemented China's longstanding place as the  number one Asian team.

All Shao has known since that time, is domination by Japan. It perhaps explains why she has been playing so well in this tournament and was so relieved to get the absorbing 87-81 victory that will live long in the memory.

"Japan are a very good team," reiterated Shao. "We played each other in the FIBA Women's Asia Cup last year and we lost, so we wanted to beat them. We prepared for this game, not just this year, but for a number of years and we played hard.

"They were very good at the beginning, but we stuck with our pace and our style. We did our best and we got the win."

One of the other reasons that China wanted to re-assert some confidence, belief and add some swagger back into their step is that they have recently witnessed Australia muscle in on the Asia region as new rivals.

Now the Opals stand between China and a first Semi-Final place since 1994.

Shao already has experience of being in the Last Eight at this competition, having made her global debut in Istanbul four years ago and she'll be sure to pass on some advice to her younger and less experienced teammates.

"We have a lot of players that are very young," she conceded. "Maybe they will be nervous, but I will tell them to relax, enjoy it, just play and enjoy the game.

"It will be like being in the FIBA Women's Asia Cup for us, although last year, we didn't play against Australia," she said. "This time we get that chance and I wanted to play against them last time."

Stopping the in-form Liz Cambage will be vital to their prospects - although no scouting report will be necessary for Shao and her team-mates.

"We know Cambage because she has played in China, as well as in the WNBA," said the 28-year-old. "We know that Australia are one of the best teams in the world and look forward to playing against them."