Vienna, June 5 (IANS) China’s women’s team fell to a 21-20 loss to Australia, courtesy of a last-second shot in the third-place game at the 2023 FIBA 3×3 World Cup here.
Due to Zhang Yi’s absence stemming from a knee injury sustained in the semifinal against the United States, China had only three players to vie for the bronze medal, reports Xinhua.
Despite being a player short, China executed a smart and strategic game, conserving energy and maintaining a 20-17 lead by scoring from afar. However, Australia’s Marena Whittle made the ultimate difference with two 2-point shots, overturning the game and securing victory.
The Chinese players contested that Whittle’s final shot was taken out of the 12-second shooting window, but the referees upheld the end results.
“It’s challenging to play such a tough game with only three players, but our desire to win was strong,” said Wan Jiyuan. “Victory would have been a huge honor.”
Xu Jiamin, the head coach of China’s team, conveyed to Xinhua that a situation with only three players on court calls for unique strategies and tactics. “They need to control the tempo, play a bit slower to conserve energy for shooting efficiency, and figure out simple scoring opportunities,” Xu explained.
“We did as much preparation as we could, but unpredictable incidents always occur. A bit more luck would have helped,” said Xu. “That’s 3×3 basketball for you.”
In the final, the United States claimed the gold by defeating defending champions France 16-12.
In the men’s category, Serbia further bolstered their World Cup credentials, capturing their sixth title in only eight editions after defeating the U.S. 21-19 in the final. Latvia overcame Brazil 22-12 to claim the bronze medal.