China edge Lithuania for FIBA 3x3 World Cup bronze

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The Chinese women's team took the bronze medal at the FIBA 3X3 Basketball World Cup with a convincing 21-11 win over Lithuania in the third-place final on Sunday.

France defeated Canada 16-13 to win the gold, while the French men's team also finished on the podium after edging host Belgium 18-17 for a bronze.

Four-time World Cup winner Serbia cruised to the fifth title after beating Lithuania 21-16 in the men's final.

"We tried our best to get the medal, so we should be proud of ourselves. Meanwhile, we should realize what we could do better and try to improve in our next tournament," said Xu Jiamin, head coach of the Chinese team.

Wang Lili, who was selected in the best squad of the tournament, scored four points in a row at the five-minute mark, with an outside shot and two free throws, and captain Zhang Zhiting added another point to put the match out of reach for the Lithuanians at 14-7.

Wan Jiyuan had a game-high seven points for China, while Wang and Zhang each added six.

"We played more aggressively than we did in the semifinal. From the beginning of the match, we encouraged each other to give our opponents more pressure through attack," said Zhang, a member of the title-winning Chinese team in 2019.

Earlier in the semifinal, China squandered a two-point lead in the last one and half minutes to concede a 17-16 narrow defeat to France.

"They (France) went into the match better than us. In the first several minutes, they outclassed us and we started very slowly," said Zhang about the semifinal. "But we came back in the middle of the match."

China bounced back at 6-12 down as Wang Lili and Zhang Zhiting both scored from the outside to lead the defending champion to a 10-2 run to turn over the match to 16-14.

"However, we should have won the match. It was a near miss. We didn't hold on to the chance when we took the lead, at some points we could have done better," Zhang added.

The two teams have met with each other in the third-place clash in the Tokyo Olympic Games last year when China defeated the European powerhouse 16-14 to clinch the bronze. But this time, the result reversed as the Blues restored the defense in the last two minutes, clawing back point by point while China suddenly lost the sharpness and failed to score any point in the last stage of the match.

China earned no point from their five free throws, while France made one from five. But it was that free throw that helped them level the score at 16-16.

Laetitia Guapo led the charge for France with nine points and the 26-year-old contributed another five points in the final to secure herself the MVP trophy of the tournament.

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