BEIJING, July 12 (Xinhua) -- Xu Limin, coach of Chinese women's basketball team, said Japan would still be their strongest opponents, but at the same time China would enjoy some psychological advantage in FIBA Basketball Asian Cup.
At a training session open to the media, Xu said Japan, the defending champions, remain the strongest opponents of his team at the Asian Cup to be held later this month in India, "I hope we will beat them at the Asian Cup. We have an psychological advantage over Japan because we are not under any pressure and all we want is to play our best and beat them."
China lost to Japan by a large margin of 35 points in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship.
"We will use full-court press defense. I have adopted this strategy since I led Shougang Women's Basketball Team and it has proved effective," Xu said.
"All the players are very close in abilities, so we don't have a fixed starting lineup. We will change it according to different rivals."
Xu is also wary of the Oceania teams, who take part in the Asian Cup for the first time, saying Australia and New Zealand may increase the uncertainty of the tournament.
China will meet New Zealand in the first game. "Playing against new rivals, our priority is to reach the next phase," said Xu.
Australia and New Zealand now sit at the fourth and 38th place respectively on FIBA Rankings, while China and Japan rank 10th and 13th.
The team's new captain Shao Ting, who came back from Minnesota Lynx in WNBA, said:"Our team have improved a lot in defense. I hope we can keep going and do our best in the coming Asian Cup."