China became the first team to advance from Group B of the FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade with a nail-biting 64-62 triumph against Spain.
They moved to 2-0 to secure a trip to Tokyo, holding off a late fightback from the FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2019 champions with Spain missing multiple chances on the final possession to force overtime.
Turning Point: China came through a cagey opening period to establish control with a 12-2 run and would lead by as many as 15 points. However, back came Spain with Torrens netting six straight in a 9-0 burst to take the lead – only for Ting Shao to respond before China survived a frantic finish.
Game Hero: It was a balanced scoring attack for China with five players scoring 9+ points, though Yueru Li came up big in the battle of the boards with 15 rebounds to go with 13 points for an important double-double.
Stats Don’t Lie: Spain never really settled into the game and they were held to just 23% shooting at the half to leave them on the back-foot. They were out-rebounded 55-35 with China grabbing 20 offensive boards.
China may not have clinched their place in Toyko on home soil but have stepped up when they needed to with two big wins. As much as the performance would have disappointed Spain, their Olympic spot can still be clinched today if Great Britain overcome Korea, and you feel they will want to prove a point tomorrow in their final game.