Japan rally to beat South Korea

Japan rally to beat South Korea

Basketball Women's Asia Cup: Favourites Australia thump lacklustre Philippines 107-65

Japan rally to beat South Korea
Japan recovered from an early slump to humble South Korea 70-56 in their Group B encounter in a Division A match of the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium here on Monday. 

Japanese point guard Asami Yoshida, with her smooth passes and darting drives in the opposition’s half, was a cut above the rest. The 29-year-old starred with eight assists and six steals in a dominant show against South Korea. Point guard Manami Fujioka also made her presence felt, leading the charts with 14 points while small forward Moeko Nagaoka and shooting guard Saki Mizushima added 13 and 10 points respectively.

Guard Lim Yung Hui with 12 points did well for South Korea while centre Kwak Joo Yeong and guard Hana Park each scored 10 points.

Power forward Maki Takada scored the first point for Japan after collecting a superb no-look pass from Yoshida, but Koreans replied immediately through forward Kim Danbi and Yung Hui and surged ahead 9-6 in the first five minutes of the quarter. Japan then took the lead (12-9) on the back of impressive three-pointers from small forward Yuki Miyazawa. However, the Koreans fought back and eventually claimed the quarter 14-12.

Given a wake-up call, Japan bounced back in style and found themselves ahead by 11 points five minutes into the second quarter (27-16). It was just a matter of formality after that as they led 38-21 by half-time.

The third was no different as Japan further stretched their lead to 20 points (54-34). The fourth quarter was a mere formality as they added another 16 points to thump South Korea 70-56.    

Japan will take on Australia in a feisty Group B encounter on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, the Opals confirmed their stature as the title favourite with a dominant 107-65 win over Philippines.

The opals opened the match with an 8-0 lead and kept the scoreboard ticking as the game progressed. Power forward Sara Blicavs top-scored with 21 points while small forward Stephanie Cumming added 18 as the Aussies routed Philippines.

China also weren’t too far behind as they made their intentions clear with a 102-63 drubbing of Chinese Taipei in their Group A tie here. China will be up against North Korea next.

New Zealand beat North Korea 71-50 in the other Group A match to keep their hopes of entering the final phase alive. The Tall Ferns had suffered a 77-48 defeat against China on Sunday.

New Zealand face Chinese Taipei on Tuesday.

Results: Division A: Group A: New Zealand: 71 (Jillian Harmon 23, Micaela Cocks 18, Kalani Purcell 11, Antonia Edmondson 10) bt North Korea: 50 (Hyang Jong 20, Suk Yong 15); China 102 (Huang Sijing 25, Li Yueru 19, Huang Hongpin 15, Shao Ting 11, Shen Yi 10, Gao Song 10) bt Chinese Taipei 63 (Huang Ping-Jen 13, Lin Yu-Ting 12).

Group B: Australia: 107 (Sara Blicavs 17, Stephanie Cumming 18, Katie Rae Ebzery 12, Alanna Smith 12, Lauren Mansfield 12, Laura Hodges 10) bt Philippines: 65 (Janine Pontejos 18, May Lim 11); Japan: 70 (Moeko Nagaoka 13, Manami Fujioka 14, Maki Takada 10) bt South Korea: 56 (Hui Yung Lim 12, Hana Park 10, Yeong Joo Kwak 12).

Division B: Uzbekistan: 78 (Natalya Koneva 19, E. Khusnitdinova 13) bt Sri Lanka: 39 (Dapana Durage 12, G Silva 13)

Group B: Lebanon: 118 (Nour Schoucair 21, Chirine El Charif 13, Miramar Mokdad 14) bt Fiji 48 (Bulou Koyamainavure 13, Seini Dobui 12); Kazakhstan: 73 (Tamara Yagodkina 16, Oxana Ossipenko 14, Zalina Kurazova 15, Oxana Ivanova 10) bt Singapore: 52 (Cheryl Poon 15, Jacqueline Chu 13).

Fixtures: On Tuesday: At Sree Kanteerava Stadium: Division A: New Zealand vs Chinese Taipei (11am), Japan vs Australia (1.15pm); Korea vs Philippines (3.30pm), North Korea vs China (5.45pm). Division B: Sri Lanka vs India (8pm).

At Koramangala Stadium: Division B: Kazakhstan vs Fiji (3pm); Lebanon vs Singapore (6pm).
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