TENERIFE, Spain (AP) — The Latest on the FIBA Women’s World Cup (all times local):
Ting Shao scored 15 points and China beat Latvia 64-61 in the opener of the FIBA Women’s World Cup on Saturday.
China (1-0) jumped out to an early 11-point lead on Latvia, which struggled from the field missing 15 of its first 19 shots. The newcomers rallied though and took their first lead of the game early in the third quarter, much to the delight of their fans, who came out in force complete with flags and drums.
Latvia led 53-51 early in the fourth before Siyu Wang hit a 3-pointer to give China a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. But Latvia had a chance in the final few seconds. Down 62-61 with 3 seconds left, Kitija Laska, who stars for South Florida, missed an off-balance runner from the top of the key. Liwei Yang got the rebound and made both free throws a second later.
Latvia couldn’t get off a final shot. The victory gave the Chinese team a leg up to most likely finish second in the group with the U.S. and Senegal the other two teams in the pool.
Anete Steinberga led Latvia (0-1) with 15 points.