Sydney, July 1 (BNA): Five-time defending champions Japan delivered another commanding performance at the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup with a heavy 88-52 defeat of New Zealand in the semifinals on Saturday.
The Associated Press reports that after beating Australia by 25 points in pool play earlier in the week to top the standings and secure qualification for next year’s Paris Olympics, Japan started quickly and never really gave New Zealand a foothold in the game.
China beat Australia 74-60 in the other semi-final match, with Han Shuo scoring 17 points.
China narrowly led 43-41 at the end of the third quarter.
Japan and China met in the 2019 and 2021 tournaments. Japan won every quarter of Saturday’s game as forward Stephanie Mauli notched 17 points and six rebounds from 19 minutes on the field, while Monica Okoye hit 16 points with five rebounds in the lopsided game.
Charles Legere-Walker led New Zealand by 14 points. The eight-team regional tournament doubles as next year’s Olympic qualifier, with Japan, Australia, China and New Zealand making the semi-finals in Paris 2024.
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