JINAN, China (2nd FIBA Asia U16 Championship for Women): Japan held a vice-like grip on the proceedings right from the word go and went on to beat Korea 102-56 in the gold medal game on Sunday, that capped a 7-0 winning spree for Hayashi Shinichiro’s girls in the competition.
Under Shinichiro, Japan had finished with the silver medal – behind China at the 1st FIBA Asia U16 Championship for Women at Pune (India) two years ago – but here they beat all teams including China, on the opening day of the competition.
“It feels good to see the team remain unbeaten,” Shinichiro said.
Shinichiro, of course, had the only member of the team that played in Pune, Evelyn Mawuli lead his team’s charge.
Mawuli, like in Saturday’s semifinals against Taipei, used all her experience of two years ago keeping Japan in the front always right from the moment Ai Yamada drove in to open the scoring for the game.
Mawuli scored 10 points, and pulled down 4 rebounds, in the first quarter to give Japan a position of comfort and confidence at the end of the first quarter.
An 11-0 run had given Japan the edge.
All Japanese players scored, six of them in double figures, with Mawuli in the forefront with 19 points. She also pulled down a dozen rebounds.
Sara Sakai had a fantastic 4/6 in trebles for her 14 points with Yunika Nakamura leading the rebounds with 14 collections, along with her 16 points.
Korea had fought hard when the two teams met in the Prelim Round and that background seemed to have worked on Japan’s plans.
“For sure, we had learnt from that game,” Shinichiro said.
But like in the second half of that game, Japan used some smart inside plays to disrupt the Korean rhythm, only this time right from the start.
Japan held a dominant presence under the boards winning the battle of boards 45-26.
Also Japan showed better organization in offense spreading the ball more often. Japan had 17 assists against Korea’s 7.
“Well you can say we were outplayed by a better team,” Korea coach Hu Man Dig.
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