Taiwan bows out of FIBA Women's Asia Cup playoffs
Taipei, Sept. 30 (CNA) The Taiwan women's national basketball team bowed out of the playoffs for the FIBA Women's Asia Cup 2021 after suffering a nail biting 80-74 defeat to South Korea Thursday.
It was the agility of the South Korean players in the key that allowed them to edge ahead of Taiwan in the final quarter and win the game which was a qualifier for a spot in the semifinals of the tournament, held in Jordan.
The Taiwanese team narrowly made it into the playoffs by rolling over the Philippines in a 41-point deficit game Wednesday, after losing the first two games to Australia and China in the group phase of Division A.
At the postgame press conference, the Taiwanese team's head coach Chien Wei-chuan (錢薇娟) said she was proud of her team despite the loss.
"I think this is one of the best performances by Taiwan in recent years, even though it is a pity we didn't win," Chien said.
The Taiwanese team needs to consider naturalizing taller foreign players or finding big players to fill the role of centers, Chien said in response to media questions.
During the game, South Korea held a modest but comfortable lead for most of the first half until the Taiwanese fought back by sniping with accuracy, including a clutch two-point jump shot by Taiwan forward Han Ya-en (韓雅恩) that tied the game 57 each with just 10 seconds left in the third quarter.
Creative plays and carefully set screens allowed South Korea to regain a single-digit lead in the fourth quarter, but Taiwan was able to make it a two-point game after shooting guard Liu Hsi-yeh (劉希曄) sunk a long-range three-pointer from downtown with just under two minutes left to play.
However, South Korean guard Hyejin Park drilled another jumper to give her team a four-point cushion with around 90 seconds left on the clock.
A missed layup by Liu was rebounded by South Korean forward Leeseul Kang, who dished a dime to Park to sink another bucket from downtown in the game's closing moments. Taiwan turned to fouls to stop the clock but ultimately was unable to catch up.
Park led all scorers with 22 points, while Taiwan guard Peng Hsiao-tong (彭曉彤) led the Taiwan team with 18 points.
Taiwan will next play in a classification match on Saturday against either Australia or New Zealand to determine fifth and sixth place, while South Korea will meet China in the semifinals round also on that day.
A total of eight teams -- Australia, Taiwan, China, India, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, and the Philippines -- gained entry into Division A of the FIBA Women's Asia Cup 2021, which is being held in Prince Hamza Hall, Amman, Jordan from Sept. 27-Oct. 3.
The city will also hold the Division B tournament.
Taiwan's best performance at the FIBA Women's Asia Cup was in 1972, when it won silver, finishing second to South Korea.
The inaugural FIBA Women's Asia Cup took place in Seoul, South Korea in 1965 with the hosts emerging as the first champions after beating Japan in the final. South Korea has won 12 of the 28 editions of the competition to date.
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