China women went unbeaten at the 2019 Asia Oceania Championships in Pattaya, Thailand, as they defended their title they won in 2017.
They finished the tournament with a commanding win over Australia in the women’s final of the competition, 53-31.
This was the third time the teams had met in the competition, having already met in the group games, and China continued with their intensive defence as they had in the previous games. Again, it led to numerous turnovers from Australia and it was compounded by them getting in to early foul trouble as well, allowing China to take an early advantage of eleven points at the end of the first, 16-5. They continued to extend the lead in the second quarter, winning it 17-7, to go in at half-time up, 33-12.
China went through a period of nearly eight minutes from the start of the third until they scored again. Australia went on a 7-0 run in this time, and a possible comeback was on. China then had a 6-0 run of their own though to finish the quarter well, and keep the comfortable margin going in to the fourth. China won this 14-12 to complete the victory and secure the gold medal, with the young Australian’s taking home silver.
Both teams had already secured their spots at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games next year by making the final.
China kept a consistent line-up throughout the game only resting two of his starting five for a short time, with Suiling Lin top scoring with 15 points and four of the five making double figures. Youngster Teisha Shadwell led Australia’s scoring with 12 points.
In the bronze medal game, Japan bounced back from their defeat to Australia in the semi-finals to take a win over hosts Thailand, 85-22.
Thailand, who joined the Division 1 semi-finals after winning Division 2, struggled to keep up with the pace of Japan as they stormed out to an early 20-2 lead in the opening quarter. Thailand were finding it difficult to convert, shooting at just 20% for the game, whist Japan were clinical at finishing off their opportunities as they went on to control the remaining three quarters, 16-4, 23-8, and 26-8, to take the win and the bronze medal. The win for Japan was their only win of the tournament.
Japan’s captain Ikumi Fujii led from the front with 21 points, closely followed by teammates Chihiro Kitada (18) and Mayumi Ysuchida (15). Pawarati Jala and Nopparat Tanbut both top scored for Thailand with 6 points.
The championships, being hosted by the Sports Association for Wheelchair Basketball Thailand, will tell us which countries from the Asia Oceania Zone will qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.