Players of China celebrate victory after a Group A match between China and South Korea at the Women's Basketball World Cup 2022 in Sydney, Australia, Sept. 22, 2022. (Photo by Hu Jingchen/Xinhua)
An aggressive Chinese team had a flying start as they enjoyed a crushing 107-44 victory over South Korea in the opener of the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup held in Sydney, Australia on Thursday.
Brimming with youthful talents, China entered as one of the favorites in the 12-team showpiece women's event in Sydney. They lived up to those expectations with a complete domination of Asian rivals South Korea to start the 10-day tournament in intimidating fashion.
Playing a high-octane style under head coach Zheng Wei, China gained an early stranglehold to build a double-digit lead, and they never relented in the one-sided contest as their athleticism and size advantage overwhelmed South Korea on both ends throughout the match.
Zheng said the team was fully-prepared for the opener that was often tough to play and praised her girls for executing well the targeted game-plan against a South Korean side that is fast and accurate beyong the arc to contained the opponents.
Li Meng and Yang Liwei scored 14 points apiece as 11 players hit the scoreboard for China, who held their opponents to a miserable 23 percent from the field.
"We pushed hard in defence and everyone was relentless in defending the rim ... We were able to get some fastbreaks too. We took down the match very well," said the dedicated center Han Xu, who had a double-double of 13 points and 15 rebounds.
Park Ji-hyun played a lone hand with 14 points to be South Korea's only player to reach double figures.
South Korean head coach Jung Sun-min said the team has no alternative for injured WNBA center Park Ji-su, but the World Cup is still a great experience for the young players.
Wang Siyu (R) of China defends Yoon Yebin of South Korea during a Group A match between China and South Korea at the Women's Basketball World Cup 2022 in Sydney, Australia, Sept. 22, 2022. (Photo by Hu Jingchen/Xinhua)
It was a near flawless performance for China, who will face Bosnia and Herzegovina on Friday ahead of what should be a far tougher test on Saturday against three-time defending champions the United States in a Group A blockbuster.
Zheng said the team would make some targeted preparations for the match against Bosnia and Herzegovina, which she believed would be very exciting.
China started aggressively and raced out to a 16-2 lead within the opening five minutes as sharpshooter Huang Sijing nailed an early three-point shot. They shared the ball around sharply to unleash their array of attacking weapons.
The overmatched South Koreans struggled to penetrate against the taller Chinese defenders amid a scoring drought.
But South Korea settled and moved the ball around crisply to open shooters, but couldn't bridge the gap as China held a 27-11 lead after the first quarter.
A ruthless China put the foot down to start the second quarter and scored 10 quick points to stretch their lead to a commanding 26 points. The youthful Chinese team continued to push the tempo with speedy guard Wang Siyu finishing off superbly in transition.
Even though they entered the second half with a sizeable 34-point lead, China maintained their dominance marked by stifling defence and their impressive reserves underlined the team's depth of talent.
China cooled off in the final quarter with the result well and truly determined, but they still powered past triple figures when Li Yuan nailed a three-pointer in the dying minutes.
China's best ever result at the World Cup was a runners-up finish in 1994, which was the last time the event was played in Australia.