China edges Australia to reach Women's Basketball World Cup final

Photos: People's Daily

SYDNEY, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- China entered the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup final after edging hosts Australia 61-59 in the semifinals here on Friday.

Wang Siyu made a pair of free throws with 3.4 seconds remaining to move China two points ahead, while Ezi Magbegor failed to convert a layup at the other end.

Wang finished with 14 points. Center Han Xu registered a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds. Yang Liwei chipped in 18 points.

It will be the first final appearance for China at the quadrennial tournament since they won the silver medal at the formerly known FIBA World Championship for Women in 1994.

Without their leading scorer Li Meng, who averaged 16 points in the past six games, China met a bit trouble in offense after the tip-off, as Australia came through a defense-oriented first quarter leading 17-13 through two late free throws from veteran center Lauren Jackson.

Coming into the game as a substitute, Han grabbed the spotlight on the court, scoring 13 points in the second quarter as China outscored Australia 23-13 down the stretch to set up a six-point cushion at halftime.

The second half was fiercely contested until the final second, as Han continued her favorable form in the paint and Wang made two foul shots in clutch time.

China will contend for the title with defending champion the United States on Saturday.