Continuing their good run of form, Chinese women made history by reaching their first final of a World Championships at the Dubai 2022 edition, on Sunday.
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic silver medallist, China displayed an amazing game of aggression and tactics as they beat Germany 49-45 in a nail-biting second women’s semi-finals at the World Trade Centre Halls.
Egged on by a vociferous crowd, China, the Paralympic silver medallist, rode on Xuemei Zhang’s double-double (18 points, 11 rebounds) to finish on top overcoming a poor second quarter.
For the team, who is competing in their first international competition after nearly two years, post the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, Sunday’s performance was a big confidence booster as the team look ahead to the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games in October.
“Before that, we are focused on the finals against the Netherlands. They are a very strong team. We will try to play a good game,” said China head coach Qi Chen.
Dutch women avenge men’s loss
Earlier, title favourites Netherlands avenged their men’s counterpart’s loss defeating USA 72-65 in the first women’s semi-finals and entered their second consecutive finals at the IWBF Wheelchair Basketball World Championships.
The Netherlands, the Paralympic, World and European champions, were led by Mariska Beijer’s double-double (32 points, 19 rebounds). Their top player Bo Kramer contributed too with 21 points.
“We did a good job in the first half as we were leading by 14. But the game is of 40 minutes, after rotation and stuff the gap was reduced. That wasn’t good. We have work to do before the finals,” said Netherlands head coach Gertjan Van Der Linden.
“We are the favourites. We are focused now on finishing well at these Championships. Every game we must give energy and to play better and better. Other teams are coming up so we must work harder to beat them,” he added appreciating the support staff in building up a team that had newcomers from their Academy back in the Netherlands.
Kramer added: “There was a lot of pressure in the match. In the first half, we played amazing basketball. Third quarter, it was an even game and they played more aggressive. We didn’t finish the balls as easy as we did in the first half. Four quarter, they played with strong offence. We did a lot of things and didn’t stick to our plans.
“We know what we can do. We need to focus on our defence,” she added of the final.
USA to play GBR in men’s final
A strong defence propelled USA men to their 12th finals, and third consecutive, at the IWBF Wheelchair Basketball World Championships in Dubai.
The United States of America displayed an impressive show of defence coupled with their offence to defeat the Netherlands 52-41 in the first men’s semi-finals of the day at the World Trade Centre Halls.
Trailing 6-13 in the first quarter, the USA side rallied in the next quarter only to continue the momentum until the end. Jacob Williams top-scored for USA with 15 points that included two 3-pointers.
“It was a great match. We played them (Netherlands) weeks ago and they are a great team; and we knew they are coming in. But we had faith on our defence; made some adjustments and our defence stepped up when we needed.
“We are excited about the win. Hopefully looking to change the fortune this year. We got the right group to do it,” said USA head coach Robert Taylor adding that that USA had played the Netherlands in a friendly in Edward, Canada recently. “It has been always a close game against them.”
Great Britain enter fifth final
In the evening, Great Britain men showed why they are one of the best teams in the world as they defeated Iran 64-44 to enter their fifth final at a World Championships.
For Great Britain, Gregg Warburton top scored with 22 points while Lee Manning contributed 19.
It is the fourth time USA and Great Britain will play each other with six-time world champions USA having an advantage of 2-1.
USA 65 vs. Netherlands 72
China 49 vs. Germany 45
USA 52 vs. Netherlands 41
Iran 44 vs. Great Britain 64