Read the full story on SportsLook - FIBA Women's Asia Cup: China Ends Japan's Championship Reign
China seized control with a game-changing run in the fourth quarter of the FIBA Women's Asia Cup final on Sunday, July 2 in Sydney.
Japan's 60-54 lead with 5:38 remaining vanished. China held the five-time reigning continental champions scoreless for more than 3 minutes and led 66-60 after a pair of Meng Li free throws at the 2:17 mark.
That wasn't the end of the fourth quarter's dramatic story, though. Japan staged a spirited comeback. Saki Hayashi sank a clutch 3-pointer with 1:48 remaining to pull Japan even at 66-66.
But China made more key plays down the stretch en route to a 73-71 victory to claim its first FIBA Women's Asia Cup title since 2011.
Free throws in the final minute sealed the victory for China, with Siyu Wang and Li combining to make 4-for-4 with 55 and 13 seconds remaining, respectively. That gave China a 73-68 advantage before Japan's Stephanie Mawuli buried a 3-pointer with 1 second to play to account for the final score.
In the previous three FIBA Women's Asia Cup finals, the game was decided by a combined nine points. Japan edged Australia by one point in the 2017 championship match, followed by three- and five-point wins over China in 2019 and 2021.
Banner Performance for China's Han
This time, China eked out a narrow victory in a game that featured 14 lead changes, with former WNBA player Xu Han, a 23-year-old, 208-cm center, leading the club with 26 points on 12-for-17 shooting and 10 rebounds.
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Author: Ed Odeven