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China thrash Lebanon in Women's Basketball Asia Cup opener

SYDNEY, June 26 (Xinhua) -- An aggressive China started their quest to end a 12-year title drought at the FIBA Women's Basketball Asia Cup with a crushing 89-44 victory over Lebanon on Monday in Sydney.

After finishing runners-up at last year's World Cup, world No.2 China returned to Sydney Olympic Park in style as they eye winning Asia's continental championship for the first time since 2011.

Towering Han Xu was unstoppable inside the paint to finish with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Li Meng, who starred at last year's World Cup, had 12 points, five assists, and four rebounds.

China were made to work early against underdogs Lebanon, who won the Asia Cup Division B in 2021 to claim a berth in this year's main draw.

Lebanon, ranked 44th in the world, were inspired by their best player Rebecca Akl, who scored nine early points in a tight first quarter.

But China put their foot down to start the second period with dynamic guard Li, who plays for Washington Mystics in the WNBA, driving relentlessly to the basket.

China quickly extended their lead to double figures before 12 straight points after half-time blew the game open.

It was an impressive performance for China, who tuned up for what should be a tougher Group A test on Tuesday against New Zealand buoyed by an upset 66-64 victory over 12-time Asia Cup champions South Korea.