NEW YORK, May 10 (Xinhua) -- The 19-year-old Han Xu took the game-high 19 points and five rebounds in her WNBA debut here on Thursday evening, helping the New York Liberty beat the visiting Chinese national team 89-71.
Han, the 2.07m center from China, showcased her versatility in layup after pick and roll, mid-range jump shot, one-on-one under basket, and even alley-oop, in the last warmup for Liberty ahead of the new season.
Among the 14 Liberty players competing in the friendly game sponsored mainly by Alipay, Han, who was selected by the Liberty in the WNBA Draft 2019 in April, enjoyed the longest playing time of 21 minutes and 27 seconds.
She made six out of eight attempts and seven out of eight free throws, an incredible ratio for a WNBA debutant.
Han said after the game, "I extended my heartfelt thanks to my coach in the locker room."
Liberty head coach Katie Smith told Han, "You deserve that."
Smith said at the after-match press conference, "The one thing we love about Han is she is able to score the basket in a variety of ways, whether it is around the rim or knocking down 15-17 footers. That helps us immensely."
"A little bit of rim protection, but overall I was very pleased by her first game for the Liberty," Smith added.
Also speaking highly of other players, the coach said in smile, "I think our draft picks have been exceptional so far."
China coach Xu Limin said after the game, "I did not expect Han to give such a wonderful performance tonight. I am surprised. It shows Han has the ability of playing in the WNBA."
Instead of a lopsided first half, it turned out to be a close fight in which China led 42-36 at halftime. But the lack of stamina and experience made China lose pace in the second half.
Xu said, "We missed three aces including Han in the game, but the main reason for our loss is that the whole team is too young. They failed to deal with some key balls to control the game, conceding too many rebounds and committing too many fouls which gifted the opponents free throws in the second half."
The Liberty outnumbered China 12-1 in offensive rebounds, 36-25 in total, and made 35 free throws against 20.
Besides Han, small forward Kia Nurse collected 19 points for the Liberty, followed by big forward Tian Charles with 13 points.
Guard Li Meng scored the team-high of 15 points for China, followed by center Li Yueru with 13 points and forward Wang Xuemeng 10 points.
As the Chinese national team is on the annual U.S. tour, Xu said, "I hope the team will improve in future games."