Tue, 21 Sep 2021

TOKYO, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- China wrapped up its group phase games with a 3-0 record and finished ahead of six-time defending champions the United States with better point difference as the Tokyo Olympics women's basketball competition concluded here on Monday.

This is the first time China has finished first in the group phase in Olympic history. Even in 1992 when China won the silver medal in Barcelona, China finished second behind the United States in the group stage before losing the final to the Americans again.

China also ranked No. 1 among 12 teams in point difference with 56 points in total, better than Group B leader the U.S.' 37 and Group A leader Spain's 29.

China defeated world No. 6 Belgium 74-62 on Monday, after it ousted Australia 76-74 and thrashed Puerto Rico 97-55 in Group C.

Belgium's Emma Meessman, who was awarded 2019 WNBA Finals Most Valuable Player, had a game-high 24 points, but her efforts were not enough to stop the Chinese.

Trailing 21-17 in the first quarter, China made a strong comeback in the second to go up 38-37 and extended the margin in each of the follow-up quarters to their third straight win.

Belgium shot 2 of 18 on 3-pointers while China had a 44 percent shooting rate, 7-of-16, from behind the arc.

In other matches, hosts Japan crushed Nigeria 102-83 to finish second in Group B with a 2-1 record, while the U.S. topped the group with three wins in a row after beating France 93-82.

Australia finished thrid in Group C with a 96-69 win over Puerto Rico late on Monday.

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