The Chinese national women's basketball team finished off its NorthAmerican tour on Friday, losing its last game 45-37 to Canada andcollecting only one win out of six friendlies. The last game, being playing in Abbotsford, about one hour east ofVancouver, was the rubber match of a three-game series as the hostswon the opening game 78-66 on Wednesday, before China bounced backto take Thursday's contest 67-51. A sloppy first half on Friday saw both teams hit several rim shotsand miss numerous baskets and three-point attempts as Canada led11-10 following the first 10 minutes. With China center Wei Wei registering three personal fouls in theopening half, veteran center Chen Nan came in off the bench for 18minutes, registering six points in her first appearance of theCanada series. |
With Canada leading 19-16 after a lackluster first half, the hostsdoubled their output in the third quarter to go up 38-26 through 30minutes. Kim Smith, the Canadian's top forward, returned frommissing the last game with an injured finger to score 12 points,the highest among all shooters. Guard Alisha Tatham was the only other player to hit double figureswith 10 points, while center Chen Xiaoli led China with eightpoints. "The competition tonight was fierce when both teams tried theirbest," said China coach Sun Fengwu.
"Comparatively, the Canadiansrestricted our performances better than we did while our attackswere frustrated. Moreover, we struggled to get touches and ourchances to hit the target also decreased. Today, Canada playedbetter than we did." Sun, who largely played his younger players throughout the Canadaseries, said regardless of the result the three games were helpful. "The young players have made progress, but still not so mature andneed to improve and work on their strengthening." Canada coachAllison McNeill praised China for coming to play as she describedthe difficulty of getting top teams to come to the vast country toface the national team. Despite the low-scoring and scrambly play,she felt the games where beneficial in preparation for the OlympicGames.
China, the world No. 7, has already secured a spot for the LondonGames as the FIBA Asia champion, while No. 11 Canada is preparingfor the final Olympic qualification tournament starting June 25 inTurkey. The tournament features 12 nations and territories battlingfor the final five places for the Games.
"You know when you play the same (team) three times, and we didthis in China too and it kind of got like this, is that you knoweach other, gets a tiny bit chippy because it' s like guarding yourbest friend for three days, you kind of know them inside and out.But yeah, it will be grinded out affairs there (in Turkey),physical for sure. I mean you' re going to clutch and grab and dowhatever you can to get to the Olympics for sure." McNeill added Canada's style of play was good for China as it's abit of what they're going to experience at the Olympics. "You knowwe're physical and pretty tough, so I just think for both teams itwas a great way for both of us to prepare. We get along well withChina.
We' ve been there and we' ve played them a lot and I thinkwe know that we helped each other here." Smith, a 28-year-old who currently plays for the Phoenix Mercury inthe WNBA, said the China series was just what the Canadian teamneeded in preparation for Turkey. The team will now have a breakfor two weeks before meeting up in Toronto June 1 for a two daytraining camp before heading to Europe for more friendlies. "Yeah,I mean we're feeling good and China's a great team," she said. "Sofor us to come away two and one from this series we're feelinggood.".
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