Gao Song(L) of China defends Japan's Fujioka Manami during a semi-final of 2017 FIBA Asia Women's Cup between China and Japan held at Bangalore, south Indian state of Karnataka on July 28, 2017. China lost 71-74. (Xinhua)
BENGALURU, India, July 28 (Xinhua) -- China lost to Japan 74-71 in the semifinal of the Women's Basketball Asian Cup on Friday, missing the chance to return to the Asian throne.
Japan ever beat China 85-50 in the final of the 2015 FIBA Asia Women's Championship. And China regarded the semifinal as a revenge battle.
China had a 7-2 run to start the game, but Japan turned around the table with its tough defense and speedy movement. The defending champion answered with a 10-3 run, leading the score 18-15 in the first period.
Star player Shao Ting then contributed four points and one assist, helping China overtake the lead again. Japan managed to pull back the points by fast breaks and pick-and-roll tactics, locking the score to 32-all in the first half.
Rising star Li Yueru hit the basket and had a three-point performance to help China take one point advantage into the last quarter. Her height, together with Shao's personal abilities, made Japan once lag behind nine points with six minutes remaining.
Then turnovers and fouls betrayed China's efforts. Its nine-point lead evaporated by the three hits from the free-throw line and a three-pointer from Yuki Miyazawa. And neither Li Meng nor Shi Xiufeng could save the title favorite in the last seconds.
China is to face South Korea on Saturday for the bronze medal, after Australia won over South Korea 81-64 in the other semifinal on Friday.