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FIBA Asia Women - Sudden impact
BANGKOK (FIBA Asia Championship for Women/FIBA World Championship for Women) - Chinese Taipei didn't live up to their expectations of giving China a real challenge this week in the Preliminary Round of the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship for Women, going down to an 85-63 defeat.
What could have been a horrible night for Lin Hung Ling-Yao's team, however, was not.
The late play of Wu Yi-Ting took away a lot of the sting.
The 21-year-old wiry, 1.75m guard, revealed herself to be quite a scorer.
With Chinese Taipei trailing 64-36 and looking like they were about to crash to a heavy defeat, she entered the contest.
Wu went immediately to work, hitting a jumper and then a three-pointer.
She raced ahead of the Chinese defense once and caught a pass in transition before laying the ball up and in.
When it was over, Wu had scored 12 of her 14 points in the quarter to help Chinese Taipei outscore their rivals, 27-21.
She ended up playing 15 minutes and 47 seconds on the night.
If the fans expected Wu to pick up where she left off when entering Thursday's game against Korea, they were wrong.
Wu's early play against the Koreans suggested her effort against China had been an anomaly.
But once again, in the fourth quarter and with the game in the balance, Wu found her stroke.
She scored all nine of her points, including a shot from the arc, in the last frame as Chinese Taipei surprised Korea, 63-58.
It will be interesting to see if Wu plays a lot against Japan in the Semi-Finals on Saturday.
She hasn't been the only player to make the most out of her playing time.
Asako O, a naturalized player from China, had a major impact for Japan in their 62-55 win over China on Thursday.
The 25-year-old entered the game midway through the first quarter with coach Tomohide Utsumi looking to give power forward Yuka Mamiya a rest.
The 1.85m center had a couple of points and two rebounds and Japan thrived while she was on the floor, so Utsumi left her in.
In the second quarter, Asako played even better, becoming her team's main offensive threat.
She had seven of the team's 13 points and helped them stretch a 12-9 advantage to 25-18.
Utsumi elected not to use her the rest of the way, but Asako O no doubt gave her coach reason to believe she will be an asset moving forward.
Maybe the biggest surprise of all in Bangkok has been the heady and very steady play of Japan's Michiko Miyamoto.
The 27-year-old wing has been a revelation of the highest order.
Miyamoto has drilled 15 three-pointers in the competition, more than any other player in Level I of the FIBA Asia Championship for Women.
Making her bow with the national team, Miyamoto had a jaw-dropping six-of-six performance from the arc in Japan's 69-57 victory over Chinese Taipei.
In the very next game against Korea, Miyamoto had five more three-pointers in a 78-71 overtime win for Japan.
China, well aware of her shooting prowess, had their point guard Chen Xiaojia stick to the 1.76 Miyamoto like glue.
Miyamoto, unable to help her team with her offense, made sure she played defense.
She came up with three steals in the first quarter, helping the Japanese set the tone for victory.
Miyamoto is a perfect fit for her national team.
"This is my first year to play for Japan," Miyamoto said.
"I am always thinking about taking responsibility for the basketball team, not only on the court but also off it.
"I love the experience."
Another player now in the thick of things for her national team is Lu Wen of China.
She put the world on notice that a rising star was amongst us with a 24-point effort in a 72-70 opening day defeat to Korea, yet has not been as influential scoring points since.
Nevertheless, the 23-year-old has been China's most impressive player, which is saying something considering this is her first major tournament with the team.
China coach Tom Maher, who has called Lu "our best practice player", said: "I think Lu is going to be a star player."
For full and in-depth coverage of the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship for Women, go to the official http://bangkok2013.fibaasia.net.
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