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Serbia stuns China 77-70 to enter women's basketball semis at Tokyo Olympics

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-08-04 14:41
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Li Yuefu (C) of China shoots during the women's basketball quarterfinal match between China and Serbia at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Saitama, Japan, Aug 4, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

TOKYO -- Serbia stunned China 77-70 to enter the women's basketball semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics at Saitama Super Arena on Wednesday.

Jelena Brooks scored 18 points, Sonja Vasic made 16 and Ana Dabovic added 13 for Serbia, which forced out 23 turnovers for the win.

"I asked my players to be sensation, to do something exceptional to beat China. We did it in the fourth quarter when we won 28-12," said Serbia coach Marina Maljkovic.

Serbia, which won the bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, came all out from the very beginning and led for the most of the first half when Brooks contributed 14 points.

China only managed a brief lead on 29-28 towards the end of the second quarter, but Serbia, which beat China 80-72 five years ago in Brazil, maintained the slim lead on 35-33 before the break.

Ana Dabovic said, "China is much better than they were five years ago, and it's definitely harder to beat them this time. We have to do more than we can for the win."

The tempo of the game never slowed down until a couple of minutes towards the end of third quarter as China used a 10-2 run to break out by 58-49.

China had to call up everyone on the bench when Serbia was so determined to topple down the No. 1 ranked team from the preliminary round that it regained the lead 60-58 with a 11-0 run featuring a series of steals and fast-breaks.

"We lost on the rebounds, turnovers and the execution of crucial points. But we still have an almost perfect Olympics as the No. 1 in the group stage. This is life, this is basketball, and we did better than we expected. We will be better in the future," Chinese coach Xu Limin said.

Chinese center Han Xu made a lay-up 5:54 minutes left and captain Shao Ting's 3-pointer tied it 66 to all.

Leading 74-70 with 28.4 seconds to go, Serbia gave little chance to China with solid defence.

Shao Ting led China with 17 points and Han added 15.

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