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Women's Basketball: China Crowned Asian Champions
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China trounced Chinese Taipei 90-59 to defend the Asian Games women's basketball title on Thursday.

Miao Lijie, a former WNBA player, ended the third quarter with an unbelievable back-field three-pointer at the buzzer, helping China to a 74-43 lead and turning the fourth quarter to junk time.

"The Asian Games is part of our journey to Beijing (Olympic Games)," said Thomas Maher, head coach of the Chinese team. "I have never seen a team younger than us. I think we still have to improve in many ways."

Chinese Taipei, making its first appearance in an Asian Games final, trailed by just three points in the first quarter, but lost all hope in the second half.

"We had thought of the loss, but never imagined such a big loss," said Chien Wei Chuan, captain of the Chinese Taipei team, which was defeated by just four points in its last meeting with China in the final of the 2005 East Asian Games.

Lin Hung Ling-yao, coach of the Chinese Taipei team, expressed her great disappointment.

"It's really discouraging," she said. "I don't think we had such a big gap with the Chinese team."

"My team didn't perform very well. Chiang Feng Chun committed three fouls at the early part of the first quarter, which made us very passive in the inside," she added.

The Chinese center duo Chen Xiaoli and Chen Nan proved too strong for their opponents, whose average height was nine centimeters shorter than the Chinese.

Chen Xiaoli hit a game-high 21 points plus 12 rebounds while Chen Nan added 19 points and 10 rebounds, giving both women double-doubles.

"For me, Chen Nan is the best player of the tournament," said Maher. "It is unbelievable to me how much she has improved."

Miao, who displayed strong personal basketball here, contributed 20 points and five assists while for Chinese Taipei, it was Lin Hui Mei who led with 18 points.
(Xinhua News Agency December 15, 2006)

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