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Japan retain Asian women’s basketball title

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Japan realised their back-to-back Asian title dream as they crushed China 85-50 in the final of the 26th Asia Women’s Basketball Championship here on Saturday. The defending champions also qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Four Japanese players had double figure points, led by Sanae Motokawa’s game-high 24 points. Ramu Tokashiki helped with 18 points and seven boards, reports Xinhua.

China’s Shao Ting and Sun Mengran were named in the tournament’s All-Star Five, joined by Japan’s Ramu Tokashiki, Asami Yoshida and South Korea’s Kim Danbi. Ramu Tokashiki won her second straight Most Valuable Player award after the 2013 edition in Bangkok.

Shao Ting opened the hosts’ scoring account with a free throw, while being substituted by veteran Zhang Fan with her nose bleeding. Zhang provided fire for the hosts, making another basket with her first touch of the ball.

After trailing by 9-10, the titleholders proved themselves with a 14-1 run since midway through the first quarter and led by 23-11 as this quarter’s game time expired.

Japan continued to dominate in the second period with consecutive inside-outside plays between their two superstars, Ramu Tokashiki and Asami Yoshida, and they extended the margin to 22 points into the half-time.

“Come on,” fans at Wuhan Sports Center shouted when Chinese players went back to the court from the locker room after the interval.

However, that proved to be of little help to the Chinese girls. The visitors’ advantage was extended to 30 points after Ramu Tokashiki’s jumper early in the third period.

The Chinese team once cut the deficit to 22 points on a 10-2 run, while that was the nearest where they could get. Japan responded with a 12-0 run later in this quarter, and sealed the win with a 35-point advantage at last.

None of the Chinese players scored double-digit points. Chen Xiaojia, Lu Wen, Gao Song and Sun Mengran had seven points apiece.

In the bronze medal match, South Korea beat Chinese Taipei 52-45.

(IANS)