TENERIFE, Spain, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) - Asian Games gold medalists China bagged a revenging victory of 87-81 over archrivals Japan in the quarterfinal of 2018 FIBA Women's World Cup here on Wednesday.
It was China's first victory over Japanese first-string squad at major tournaments in the past five years, following their consecutive losses at the Asian Championships and Asian Cup.
Yang Liwei made four three-pointers to score 16 points, the same for captain Shao Ting. Huang Sijing had 14. Li Yueru added 12 points and eight boards.
Li Meng heated up quick into the match with a three-pointer, but Japan, three-time defending Asian champions, responded in the same manner with five of six attempts beyond the arc. Starting point guard Nako Motohashi's 10 points moved Japan 25-19 ahead as the first quarter ran out.
Chinese youngsters made their contributions early in the second period, as the 18-year-old center Han Xu scored a second chance basket to commence the team's offense. Then Yang Liwei and Huang Sijing saw consecutive three-pointers on target.
Through substitutes' concerted effort, China could remain in contention, before Shao Ting's fast break layup turned the tides for China to lead 43-41 for the first time since the start with 1:26 remaining. Li Meng's another three-pointer put China 46-44 ahead into the halftime.
Yang Liwei shone with two shots from outside late in the third quarter, propelling China to a 67-57 lead heading into the final period, the first time they established a double-figure advantage since the tip-off.
In front of China's buckled-up defense, Japan failed to maintain their shooting percentage in the second half.
Japan cut the deficit as close as two points, but China kept their nerves through solid performance on free throw line despite Monica Okoye's eight late points.
Motohashi finished a game-high 25 points. Evelyn Mawuli, Yuki Miyazawa and Okoye had 12 apiece.
Starting from the 2013 Asian Championships, China lost four straight matches at Asian-level tournaments, the latest at the 2017 Asian Cup.
They savored a bit revenge with two wins in a row against Japan en route to the Asian Games gold medal this year, but the latter didn't dispatch a full roster to Jakarta.
China will face Australia, featuring WNBA All-star center Liz Cambage, in Friday's quarterfinal.