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JPN - Korea, China prevail in semi-final rehearsals
OMURA-NAGASAKI (FIBA Asia Championship for Women) - Korea held off Chinese Taipei while China used a second quarter run to pull away from Japan on the final day of the Preliminary Round of the FIBA Asia Championship for Women.
The two games were rehearsals for Saturday's semi-finals as the teams will face off in the same order on the day.
Korea edged out Chinese Taipei 69-67 on Thursday to remain the only unbeaten team in the tournament, improving to 5-0.
The Koreans will face Taipei again on Saturday in the knowledge that the last time they opened the tournament with five wins in a row - in Incheon back four years ago - they went on to take gold.
That result allowed them to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Kim Jung Eun – one of four players in the current squad who also played in Incheon – had a team-high 17 points.
Giant center Ha Eun Joo added 15 points and four rebounds.
“We knew we were going to finish as No 1 and the players were a little relaxed. But I wanted to keep the winning momentum going. It wasn’t easy to match these two,” said Korea coach Lim Dal Shik.
Chiang Feng-chun led Taipei’s scoring with a game-high 24 points.
Meanwhile, Ma Zengyu came off the bench to provide a timely boost as China blew the game wide open and cruised to a 76-53 win over hosts Japan.
The two teams will meet again on Saturday with a place in the Final at stake.
The game was close for the first quarter and a half, but Ma Zengyu then provided the spark as the Chinese went on a 10-2 run that saw them pull away and never look back.
“Yes, she was the one who gave the twist to the proceedings,” said China coach Sun Fenwgu.
Ma Zengyu had seven of her 12 points for the game in the second quarter.
Ji Yanyan led China’s scoring with 17 points and Nan Chen added 10 to go with five rebounds.
Fenwgu expects Saturday's semi-final will be a tough one.
“It won’t be easy playing them (at home),” he said.
His counterpart Fumikazu Nakagawa expects his team will be a different proposition on that day.
“We will present a different and much better team,” he warned.
Yoko Nagi paced Japan with 13 points and youngster Moeko Nagaoka added 10.
Elsewhere, Lebanon used a 14-0 run to pull away from India and take a 71-52 victory, their first ever win in Elite Level I of the competition.