China remain unstoppable as they win FIBA 3x3 Fribourg stop 2023
Fribourg (Switzerland) - In a star-studded Women’s Series Fribourg stop, it was the inevitable China that emerged victorious as they defeated the underdogs Portugal 10 - 14 on July 7.
Here’s how the tenth stop of the series played out.
The Winners: China
The team that took to the court in Fribourg wasn’t too different from the one that lost narrowly to Neftchi last week. There was one change however, one that included Kun Huang to the team, who is a lights out shooter and a scorer at will in the mid-range. Her addition would end up paying huge dividends for the team.
Their campaign started off against Portugal. Yujie Chen took over in the tie, scoring 10 points and getting 6 rebounds to lead her side to a strong start in the tournament. It was a similar result against a strong Italian side, with the duo of Lili Wang and ZhiTing Zhang working their magic.
Their knockout stages kicked off against Canada, a team they’ve lost in the finals to in Poitiers. This time around though, China was not messing around. The Canadian side without the Plouffe sisters could not contend with China’s ferocity.
Remember when we said Huang was a lights out shooter? Well, the semi-finals was the Kun Huang game. Going up against Sc. Yuanda, the matchup was bound to be physically intense. One would wonder if China could hold off the clinical Sc. Yuanda, and they almost couldn’t. Well, until Huang took over.
She put up 13 points, including a perfect showing from beyond the arc, going 5 for 5. It was magical, and it led China to the finals.
Talk about a dream run, going from the qualifying games all the way to the finals.
Portugal are playfully called the team that brings the vibes. Make no mistake, they are talented as they come. Beating Israel and New Zealand in the qualifying games off the back of huge performances by Joana Soeiro, their first challenge in the group stages was China, a team they would go on to face in the finals. This time around, it was an academic win for the Chinese women.
But the Portuguese never looked back. They utilized their ball movement and decision making to shine on offense, not to mention their splendid defensive prowess.
They defeated Italy off the back of a clutch display from Laura Oliveira. They faced recent winners Neftchi next. While a closer game, Emilia Ferreira was unstoppable, scoring 9 points to lead them to the win.
The semi-finals was a tie between the two teams that shone from the qualifiers. Portugal vs. Latvia. While Anete Steinberga offered a stiff challenge for the Portuguese, it wasn’t enough. Portugal picked up a 12 - 17 win to book the rematch of their group opener against China.
Portugal 10 - 14 China
China started on the offensive early, going to Zhang repeatedly to get some early points on the board. Portugal kept up, mainly due to their defense. As the game went on though, the Portuguese team started to slow down, wilting to the unrelenting China.
Just when the game fell in a lull, Huang took off. Going off in the mid-range, putting the game to bed beyond any doubt. Portugal tried, they mounted a late comeback as they pulled the difference to three. With time winding down, Lili Wang scored the clutch bucket to hand China the 10 - 14 victory. The result brought their total stop wins this season to a whopping four.
MVP - Kun Huang
Unsurprisingly, Huang took home MVP. She scored 33 points through 5 games, shooting 80 percent inside the perimeter. It was not just the points scored, it was the timing and manner as well. Huang was the heart of China in Fribourg, and her offensive display was the reason China picked up yet another stop win in the Women’s Series.
4. Sc. Yuanda (CHN)
5. Neftchi (AZE)
7. Gyor (HUN)
12. Fribourg (SUI)
15. New Zealand
The action rolls on to Kosovo as the FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series Pristina Stop 2023 takes place on July 14 - 15.