And China beat Japan 122-78 to win the gold medal…
4 Sri Lanka
SURAT THANI, Thailand (20th FIBA Asia U18 Championship for Women): A second quarter surge that caught their rivals completely unaware helped Chinese Taipei forge ahead for a 78-54 win over Korea in the third place play-off on Wednesday.
The bronze medal was Taipei’s first medal in eight years. Taipei had last won a medal when they bagged the silver in the 2002 edition of the Championship which they had hosted.
The third-place finish also booked Taipei’s ticket to Chile as the third FIBA Asia team to play in the 9th FIBA World U19 Championship for Women to be held in the South American country next year.
China and Japan, who play the gold medal had already qualified.
“We are thrilled to win the medal and represent FIBA Asia in the World Championship,” beamed Taipei coach Chen Mei-Li.
Korea, who had won a medal in all their 18 appearances so far – seven gold, five silver and six bronze – failed to finish on the podium for the first time in the Championship in more than three decades.
The last time Korea did not figure on the podium was in the 1980 edition at Bangkok, when they had not participated in the event.
“We were highly inconsistent,” lamented Korea coach Choul Kwon Choi.
Taipei had beaten Korea 84-82 in the Preliminary Round of the competition here and it certainly looked like Korea had learnt their lessons from that defeat, at least in the initial phases of the game.
Jihyun Lee, who was woefully off color in the previous defeat – she scored a mere five points in that game – was the leader of the early Korean charge.
Jihyun Lee opened the scoring for Korea, and followed it up a sizzling three-pointer. Gyuhee Kim added one of her own as Korea scored the first seven points of the game.
They maintained the edge on the scoreboard, but only until Taipei made their move early in the second quarter.
Lin Yu-Ting who scored 19 points in Taipei’s earlier win against Korea scored back-to-back to put Taipei level at 23-23 and Huang Hsiang-Ting followed her assist and gave Taipei the first lead of the game.
Taipei rolled on to a 12-0 spree which perched them in control of the proceedings.
Taipei went into the changing rooms 31-25 ahead and opened up a 13-point lead when Liu Jung-Hsing scored drove in the lane at about the midway mark of the third quarter.
Their control of the proceedings and the scoreboard only grew thereafter.
Lin Yu-Ting and Huang Hsiang-Ting shared the scoring honors for Taipei with Lee Ching-Ning with 15 points each.
Where Taipei flourished Korea who were outscored 6-18 in the second quarter withered.
Jihyun Lee who had scored 12 points in Korea’s initial flurry failed to add any later.
“We anticipated their early pace,” said Wang Wei-Chieh.
“Our defense was a little shaky at the start, but then it was understandable because of the pace of the game,” he added.
“We had to switch our defense, which we had planned for, and things fell in place for us,” he said.
“This medal is very crucial for Taipei basketball,” said Chen Mei-Li.
“Our preparations (for the World Championship) stars tomorrow. We are proud of what these girls have achieved here and we will ensure they keep the flag flying high.”
For Game Statistics and Detailed scores click here
S Mageshwaran / FIBA Asia