China win in dramatic fashion in FIBA 3x3 Yichang Stop 2023
Prague (Czech Republic) - China brought it home with a dramatic 14-13 win against Australia in the FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series Yichang Stop 2023 on August 4 - 5.
Here’s the rundown of the fifteenth stop of the season.
The Winners: China
As if the reigning queens of this season needed anything more, they had the roaring support of the Yichang crowd behind them. Lili Wang and ZhiTing Zhang, the two staples of the Chinese side were joined by sharpshooting Kun Huang and a superb spark plug in Yujie Chen.
Day 1 was nothing more than a statement, rolling past Malaysia and Romania with ease. Wang with the two-pronged help with Zhang in the post and Huang on the perimeter made them impossible to guard, being able to score on all levels.
The game against Poland showed exactly what makes Lili Wang so dangerous, not only did she put up 8 points against a tenacious Polish defense, her huge 8 rebounds proved to be the difference maker as China progressed to the semi-finals.
This is where the challenges would ramp up for the home side. Going up against the Netherlands who had been just as dominant in their run in the event so far, the two teams felt equipoised in terms of skill set and size. What followed as an all-out battle, Noortje Driessen and Wang being the two juggernauts that went back and forth. Late in the game, Loyce Bettonvil scored a huge two to tie the game only for Wang to score the dagger. With seconds to go, Driessen punted a shot that could’ve tied the game only for it to go in and out, sending China to the finals.
The Australian side was at a disadvantage from the jump, playing without Lauren Mansfield in the tournament, and without the luxury of substitutions. They did have Emma Clarke who proved to be an intuitive defender and incredible shooter of the ball.
Their first game against another powerhouse in Germany was an instant classic. It came down to a huge two by Svenja Brunckhorst to tie the game only for Anneli Maley to go into her bag to pull off a tough finish to hand Australia a narrow win in the opener.
The challenges kept coming with Mongolia as Indra Ulziibat went off, scoring 10 points in a narrow losing effort. Marena Whittle and Maley combined for 16 of the teams points to pick up the win for the Aussies.
As much as Whittle was the offensive juggernaut for the side, it was the Anneli Maley show throughout the tournament. The tie against Wuhan saw her picking up a whopping 12 rebounds and 7 points which proved to be the difference maker.
The Maley-Whittle show next took on Sc. Yuanda with both putting up huge numbers on the way to the finals.
China 14 - 13 Australia
If you’re one for poetry, it doesn't get better than this. Two teams that have found themselves interlinked with the other over years in 3x3. They met in the Women’s Series this season before with China emerging victorious. They also faced off in the FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2023, a hobbled China fell narrowly to Australia. This time, it was Australia with the short end of the stick.
The action was a tale of two halves. It was all Australia to begin with, Maley and Whittle draining buckets. By the halfway mark, Australia had a 5-point lead.
In came Lili Wang. She immediately scored a massive 5 points to close the gap. With a point separating the sides and less than a minute to go, the usually streaky scorer Zhang went to the line. It was no misses this time as she sunk both of her free throws. With 13 seconds to go, Whittle muscled her way into the paint and put up a bucket with all she had. But it was the cold-blooded Want who had the last laugh with a floater in the dying seconds to win the game for China in front of a roaring Yichang crowd.
MVP - Lili Wang
It has been the Lili Wang show all tournament, and it was no different in Yichang. She put up 33 points and essentially facilitated every aspect of the game. Her timely buckets shifted momentum in China’s favor. especially in the finals.
4. Sc. Yuanda (CHN)
8. Wuhan SanFran (CHN)
The FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series heads to Poland next as the Katowice stop 2023 takes place on August 14 - 15.