VILLENEUVE, France (2012 London Olympics): Reigning 24th FIBA Asia Championship for Women winners China fell into a mammoth deficit early on and fought an uphill task thereafter to go down 53-84 to their FIBA Oceania counterparts and 2008 Beijing Olympics women’s silver medalists Australia in a warm up game to the 2012 London Olympics on Friday.
Center Wei Wei ran into foul trouble early in the game and Australia seized the opportunity to blaze away to a 23-5 lead at the end of the first quarter, a 17-0 run in the latter part of the period studding their dominance.
China were undone by one too many turnovers – 19 in all to 3 steals against Australia’s 9 turnovers to 10 steals – which blew away their chances of a fight back.
Nan Chen (pic above) was the highest scorer for China with a dozen points and 8 rebounds, but she also committed 6 turnvoers.
The iconic Miao Lijie wasn’t allowed to take even a single shot at the goal during her more than 10 minutes presence on the court and had to be content with dishing out 3 assists.
Ma Zengyu the third of the triumvirate that helped China win the gold medal at last year’s 24th FIBA Asia Championship for Women at Omura (Japan), was a lot more composed with 10 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists with only one turnover.
Li Shanshan in her maiden international stint, had the most impressive shooting record for Chinese with a 3/4 on the field and a 3/3 in free-throws for her 9 points.
Coach Sun Fengwu have each of his players more than six minutes on the court – the least of them being Wei Wei who played for merely 6:14 before being fouled out.
Lauren Jackson’s 17 points, including a perfect 8/8 from the foul-line marked the Opals’ win. Belinda Snell reeled in 3 three-pointers in 7 attempts in an overall 6/13 on the field for her 16 points. And young sensation Liz Cambage added 14 points.
Drawn in Group A of the Prelim Round alongside 2011 FIBA Africa Championship for Women winners Angola, defending Olympic gold medalists USA, 2010 FIBA World Championship for Women runners-up Czech Republic, Eurobasket Women 2011 silver medalists Turkey and Croatia in Group A of the Prelim Round, the Chinese women have their task cut out if they aim to repeat a semifinal entry as they did four years at home at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
China begin their campaign against Czech Republic on July 28, the opening day of the basketball competition at the 2012 London Olympics.
Click here for Complete Groupings and Schedule of 2012 London Olympics women’s basketball competition