INCHEON (FIBA Asia Championship for Women
) - A slack defense Chinese Taipei pattern early in the third quarter provided opened the gateway for Korea to steer away to an 80-70 win in the first semifinal on Saturday.
Taking the court at 41-39, Korea produced a 12-0 spree in the first two minutes of the third quarter, thanks to three-pointers from Beon Yeon-Ha and Park Jung Eun, an advantage they managed to maintain throughout. The encounter before and after that period of Korean blitzkrieg went on even keel, with Taipei matching their more fancied opponents basket for basket.
"I think that's where we nudged ahead. Otherwise they had under a tight leash," said a relieved Korean coach Yoo Soo Jong.
"I knew only one mistake would make the difference. I'm glad it didn't come from us."
"We were indeed a little slower than normal. But then we were playing a very well cohesive team. Therefore I wanted the team to play with a lot of stability and steadiness. That's the reason we chose to sacrifice speed," he said.
The coach paid rich tribute to his rivals for keeping his side on its toes. "They were a revelation today. Unlike in the preliminary matches, they were beginning to take control of the proceedings more often. I'm glad that Beon and Park got us going in the third quarter," he added.
Chinese Taipei coach Lin Hung Ling-Yao was "proud of the way my girls kept the pressure on them."
"It was touch and go throughout. This is the kind of match that should mark the Olympic qualifiers. I think we lost it in the third quarter."
"It was basically a little lapse in the concentration. But in matches at this level and against this opposition, I knew we were always going to play the catch-up game once we lost that lead in the third quarter," she added.
Korea 80 (Beon Yeon-Ha 19, Park Jung Eun 16, Sun-Min Jung 11, Jin Mi Jung 11) bt Chinese Taipei 70 (Chiang Feng Chun 20, Wen Chi 15) (Quarterwise: 26-20, 41-39, 63-52,).S Mageshwaran