Asiad Faces

A winning farewell for veteran guard

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-11-27 15:23
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Guangzhou - An injury-plagued Miao Lijie closed the curtain on her illustrious career with the Chinese basketball team this week after helping China to its third consecutive Asian Games title on Thursday.

A winning farewell for veteran guard
Miao Lijie goes up for a basket in the final against Korea on Thursday. Meng Yongming/ Xinhua 

"The gold didn't come easy, and the experience will be engraved in our memories," said Miao, who fouled out in the seventh minute of the last period. "Maybe it's time for me to stop playing. I'm OK with that, and it's kind of a relief."

After finishing a frustrating 13th place at the World Championships in October, China redeemed itself by defeating Korea 70-64 in Guangzhou in a game that saw the host race ahead in the second quarter. Center Chen Nan led the scoring for China with 17 points.

The game was something of a grudge match for China after it lost to Korea at the worlds - where Korea finished eighth - and subsequently had to live with the reputation of being the weaker side.

"We didn't play well at the worlds but today we enjoyed some sweet revenge," said Bian Lan, widely regarded as Miao's successor.

Miao, who used to play for the Sacramento Monarchs in the WNBA, originally planned to retire from the national team last year due to her lingering injuries, but was persuaded to stay on for the 2010 Worlds.

"I've been tortured by serious injuries and it's been quite painful," said the 29-year-old former Olympian.

"I had to take medicine and use all kinds of treatments to ease the pain before the final. It really hurt my body. But at the end of the day, we grabbed the gold and the pain was trivial in comparison to that."

She was not the only Chinese player who had to battle an injury to compete in Guangzhou.

Bian was recalled to the squad one month before the Asian Games after a one-year absence.

The MVP of last year's Asian Championships didn't play in any domestic league games in 2009 due to a chronic intestinal tract problem. She said the long layoff and this week's on-court action had taken its toll.

"It was very tough for me to play (here) just one month after my return," said the 24-year-old guard. "But we prepared thoroughly and we were expecting to win."

So was Korea, which felt it wasn't getting enough decisions in its favor as the game closed out.

"My teammates did a very good job, but in the last minute I think the referee was on China's side," said Kim Dan-bi.

Korea coach Lim Dal-shik said the team was underperformed, but would bounce back, bolstered by its young assets.

"Two of our talented younger players didn't play, so I believe we will be able to form a stronger team," said Lim.

China Daily


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