MADRID, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- China took an important step towards qualifying for the quarterfinals of the FIBA Women's basketball World Cup, which began on the island of Tenerife on Saturday.
Placed in a four-team group with runaway favorites the United States, it was vital for the Chinese to get off to winning start in their opening game against Latvia and they were able to seal an important 64-61 win against the Latvians.
China led 17-10 after the first quarter, but Latvia fought back in a very even match and the score was 31-30 in China's favor at the break. Latvia were level with 10 minutes remaining, but a strong finish by the Chinese, who had small forward Shao Ting as their star player with 15 points, four rebounds and five assists, was enough to give them a key win.
The Chinese will face the USA (who play Senegal later on Saturday) tomorrow, and take on the Senegalese on Tuesday knowing a win will almost certainly put them into the last eight even if they do lose to the USA.
WNBA star Liz Cambage showed how important she is to Australia's challenge by scoring a staggering 34 points and pulling down 12 rebounds as the 'Opals' got their challenge off to a winning start with an 86-68 win over Nigeria.
France were far more efficient on field goals than South Korea and coasted to an 89-58 win, with Marine Johannes the standout in a very solid team performance.
Meanwhile Turkey also highlighted their candidacy for a medal as they gave Argentina no chance as they beat them 63-37. Argentina had an effectiveness of just 14 percent on field goals and netted just four points in the third quarter and will have to improve drastically when they face Australian on Sunday.