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Basketball - 07. June 2007.

KOR/ CHN - Sun-Min steers Korea ahead


IThe former Seattle Storm player began the scoring for her team with a crisp sink from just inside the paint and ended the game with a speedy drive-in followed by an impeccable free-throw conversion. In between those five points - out of the game high 27 that she accumulated - the 32-year-old kept herself busy marshalling her younger teammates towards their goal.

"These are youngsters. They need constant guidance," the Shinhan Bank S'Birds star said. "Even if we let go for a minute, they can lose concentration. But they are all very talented and promising."

The 'youngsters' in the Korean team didn't have to look beyond their skipper for inspiration, and example, with Sun-Min collecting 10 rebounds besides five assists. Beon Yeon-Ha seemed the most inspired. Along with accounting with her own share of points, the Samsung Bichumi forward, in association with Sun-Min, conjured the most imaginative play patterns in the Championship thus far.

"Well, there were things that worked perfectly for us, thanks to these two," said Korean coach Yoo Soo Jong. "I think we were much tensed in the early stages. The manner in which Sun-Min and Yeon-Ha handled the situation brought composure to our moves."

The coach, determined to top the Level I league, chose to use his bench only rarely. "We were playing a very good opponent. I wanted the experienced players to remain on the court," the coach said. "It might have cost us a little bit in terms of speed, since the players were definitely tiring out, but it helped in controlling the terms of the game."

Chinese coach Su Fengwu thought "Korea won the battle more in the mind than on the court."

"I think we almost had it (the match in our hands), when we caught up and leveled the scores (at 80-all with 0:39 left on the clock). But the way Korea handled that end-game situation made the difference."

Korea 83 (Sun-Min Jung 27, Beon Yeon-Ha 22, Park Jung Eun 14) bt China 80 (Zhang Han Ian 23, Wang Xiao Li 17). (Quarterwise: 29-21, 46-36, 59-54).

S Mageshwaran
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