CANBERRA, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese women's national basketball team narrowed the gap in their second defeat to Australia in their Canberra training camp, where they gained experience as they prepare for the upcoming FIBA Women's Asian Cup.
On Tuesday, China was defeated 87-76 by the Australian national team. It is the second warm-up match between the two sides at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra since Monday after Chinese national team set up a training camp this week.
Both teams will use the three warm-up matches planned in a week as intensified preparation for Asian Cup which will be held from September 24th to 29th in India. They will meet again on Thursday night for the last game, which will not be another internal teaching competition but will instead be open to the public.
Compared to the Monday's big-margin defeat, China narrowed the gap in the second match and led the world ranked third-place team 25-22 and 44-11 after the first and second quarters.
According to head coach Xu Limin, "playing one game [at a time] and getting one step of progress" is his aim at this week's training.
"Today's adjustment is very good. The most gratifying thing is that everyone has demonstrated the fighting spirit of the Chinese women's basketball team and is not afraid of the stronger opponent. In this process, everyone has implemented some of the training content and requirements," the head coach told Xinhua after Tuesday's match.
Under the new competition system introduced by FIBA last year, the Asian Cup serves as the first stage of competition for Olympic qualification, with the tournament's eight best teams offered the chance to compete in November's Olympic qualifiers.
China is placed in Group B with Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines.
A total of 14 players, including center Han Xu, who has just returned from WNBA duty, joined in the training camp, held before Xu names the final 12-woman list for the Asian Cup.
"Our team's performance is much better than Monday. After the match, we also learned about our opponents. Then everyone played with spirit today and dared to use physical confrontation. You must have the initiative to be aggressive, and then the teams compete with each other for the ball," said captain Shao Ting.
Shao, who has also played in the WNBA, wants to transfer her experience in international tournaments to the newcomers in this young team.
"We hope to play an improving game, and then we can solve the problems before the Asian Cup as early as possible. Including Han Xu from the WNBA who just returned, we also hope to run the whole team through the competition. So there is still a need for more competitions for the team to get together, for everyone to understand each other," she said.
"We also hope to continue to exercise throughout the competition, and then to stimulate the potential of young players to let them accumulate experience in the competition," she added.
China wasted a nine-point lead in the final quarter before losing to arch-rivals Japan in the 2017 Asian Cup semifinals.