Day 4 Women: NZL 79 - CHN 77
ATHENS - Megan COMPAIN had just 6.4 seconds to think, decide and execute. It turned out to be plenty of time for the New Zealand guard, who sank a pressure packed shot with time running out and secured a dramatic 79-77 win over China.
The Asian Champs had tied up the game at 77-77 due to a three pointer by ZHANG Fan, a shot that completed an 11-4 run for China.
New Zealand was leading the game by 73-66 with two minutes to go and if COMPAIN missed the winning shot, the game would go to the extra time.
After todays result, the silver medallists of Oceania Championships tied their record at 2-2 in Group B and assured their qualification to the quarterfinals.
COMPAIN didnt only make the buzzer beater. She also made 4/4 free throws in the last 60 seconds scoring 10 of her 12 points during the last quarter to help New Zealand win.
Gina FARMER had a terrific game with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Donna LOFFHAGEN contributed 18 points, 7 boards and 5 steals. Aneka KERR, who scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, also powered the front line. As for Angela MARINO, the fast point guard scored 13 points and shared 4 assists, but committed 4 turnovers.
SUI Feifei led China with 21 points and 9 rebounds, while WANG Ling added 15 points and MIAO Lijie had 12. Two of her teammates basically two starters- CHEN Luyun and CHEN Nan played for 6 and 17 minutes respectively, as they both got injured during a very crucial game.
After this loss, China misses all the chances to make the next round. Even if they win the United States in their last game, the Chinese cannot win potential tiebreakers with Czech republic and New Zealand.
Megan COMPAIN, (NZL), Guard:
On her buzzer-beater:
"It is the most exciting win in my career so far! I will never forget it. The feeling of scoring the buzzer-beater in such an important game for your team is shaking. I cannot compare this moment with any thing else so far."
On her expectation:
"We are almost in the quarterfinals. We expected it to achieve this, as many people around us, but we didnt want to put pressure in ourselves. Thank God we made it."
On the game:
"We never give up. We are trying to do our best until the end of each game. And that is what we are going to do in the next phase too."
Angela MARINO (NZL), Guard
On the Olympic Tournament:
"We came to Athens in order to perform as best as we can. We dont have a lot of experience from previous international games. Olympic Games are like a dream comes true for us. Judging form our performance so far, who knows where how far we can go".
|Press conference quotes:|
Megan COMPAIN, Guard (NZL), the player who made the winning shot almost at the buzzer
"I can't even remember that shot. It was the biggest game of my life. We came here expecting a lot from ourselves, but almost no one expected too much from us. Now we achieved our goal to go to the next round, and it's a great feeling for us and our families and friends who have supported us for all these years and are now getting rewarded."
Tom MAHER, Head Coach (NZL)
"I am delighted New Zealand made it to the quarterfinals. In the previous Olympics we had won just one game. I have all the respect in the world for China; they have built up a very good programme and will do well in Beijing. It's a game I'll never forget. We advanced to the next round, and it seems to be unthinkable for us to beat teams like Australia, Brazil or Russia. I only have to say that we must leave the Olympic Games winners, even if we lose all of our upcoming games. Sally FARMER went to the hospital and will be with us tomorrow. It's sad she will miss the rest of the tournament, but we shouldn't cry for things we can't change."
ZHANG Fan, Forward (CHN), the player who tied the game with a 3-pointer just six seconds from time
"It's a great pity we lost. It was a critical game to advance to the final eight. We didn't rebound well, and New Zealand outrebounded us. There was a lot of pressure on us. It was said that we would be in the top six for sure, and could go for the bronze medal. We didn't succeed in changing that pressure into motivation. I don't have a lot to say about my three-pointer, I just heard everyone on the bench screaming 'three' and I had only one thing in my mind, to shoot the ball."
GONG Luming, Head Coach (CHN)
"Congratulations to New Zealand. We did not perform well in defense and gave them too many second chances on offensive rebounds. We did well in the preparation games, but these don't mean anything, and when we came to the Olympic Village the pressure was piling up from everywhere. It was forgotten that some members of our team did not have any Olympic experience at all. I don't think the teams that played against us overperformed, it's just that we underperformed ourselves. We didn't take the game against New Zealand as seriously as we had the one against Korea. We don't have to blame the others, but ourselves."
Source: Athens News Service