Preview: USA Women’s National Team to Face China Saturday Afternoon
The USA Basketball Women's National Team, which has two exhibition victories under its belt after defeating Canada on Sept. 15 and Australia on Sept. 19, will look to make it three wins when it takes on China on Sept. 20 (10 a.m. EDT) in Paris. While the game isn't being televised, fans can follow the USA Basketball Twitter account for game updates and via the live online stats.
The USA passed a big test on Friday night in Paris with a 72-66 victory over rival Australia in a well-rounded victory that saw U.S. head coach Geno Auriemma distribute playing time amongst his 15 team finalists. The American women next face China in their second game of the four-team France International Tournament at 10 a.m. EDT on Sept. 20 in Paris, France. Played at Pierre de Courbertin Stadium, which is named after the father of the modern Olympic Games, the day’s second game will feature a clash between Australia and host France.
China fell behind early and France rolled to a 74-54 victory in Friday night’s late game. China was held to just 32.7 percent (17-52 FGs) shooting from the field, while France was on fire at 52.5 percent (31-59 FGs) in front of a loud and partisan crowd.
Xiaojia Chen, a 28-year-old, 5-foot-10 guard, was China’s top scorer against France with nine points; while Lia Yang was a perfect 4-of-4 from the line and scored eight points.
The team features just two athletes from China’s 2012 Olympic squad, which finished in sixth place with a 3-3 record. With several top veterans retiring, China’s team is young, but not without experience as eight of their players helped China capture the bronze medal at the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship.
The last time these two teams faced in senior-level international competition was the final game of preliminary round play at the 2012 Olympics as the USA, behind 22 points from Diana Taurasi, took a 114-66 victory.
In World Championship play, the two teams matched up most recently in 2006. The U.S. opened with a 119-72 rout of China in a game that was never in doubt, and the USA was led by Sue Bird's 20 points, while Tina Thompson and Taurasi each poured in 17 points as every U.S. athlete scored and five players were in double digits.
China is being coached by international veteran Tom Maher, who coached Australia to its first Olympic medal with a bronze at the Atlanta Olympics and headed up Australia’s silver-medal finish in Sydney. Following that, he coached New Zealand to its best Olympic finish -- eighth place -- in Athens, headed up China’s fourth-place finish in Beijing, was hired to coach Great Britain in 2012 and then was rehired by China to lead its national team through the Rio Games. He also served a stint as head coach of the Washington Mystics in 2001.
USA Basketball women are 28-1 all-time against China in official FIBA, FIBA Americas, Pan American Games and World University Games competitions through the 2014 U17 World Championship, with the lone 75-73 loss coming at in the 1993 World University Games. Facing a veteran China team that included seven members of its silver medal 1992 Olympic team, the U.S. squad's comeback effort fell one basket short of victory when Adrienne Goodson's 3-point attempt failed to drop as time expired and the U.S. fell 75-73 in the semifinals. The USA went on to claim bronze.
At top-level events, the USA owns a 6-0 upper hand over China in the Olympic Games and a 4-0 advantage at the FIBA World Championship.
CHINA IN THE FIBA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
FIBA world ranking: 8.
How China qualified: 2013 FIBA Asia Championship bronze medalist (4-3).
World Championship appearances: 8 (1983, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010).
World Championship overall record: 34-39 (.466).
World Championship medals: 1 silver medal (1994), 1 bronze medal (1983).
Key players in 2013 FIBA Asia Championship (players in bold are on this year’s team): Nan Chen (12.7 ppg., 4.1 rpg.), Song Gao (13.7 ppg., 6.6 rpg.), Wen Lu (9.9 ppg., 2.9 rpg.).
USA vs. China at the World Championship: 4-0.
2012 Olympic finish: 6th place (3-3).
CHINA’S FIBA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FINISHES
|2010||2- 3||13th Place|
|2006||3- 5||12th Place|
|2002||5- 4||6th Place|
|1998||3- 5||12th Place|
|1994||5- 3||Silver Medal|
|1990||5- 3||9th Place|
|1986||5- 2||5th Place|
|Total||34-39 (.466)||1 Silver, 1 Bronze|
USA vs. CHINA ALL-TIME AT THE FIBA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
USA 119, China 72 (2006)
USA 70, China 54 (1998)
USA 99, China 74 (1986)
USA 101, China 91 (1983 in overtime)