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U16 Asia Women Stars of the past
BENGALURU (FIBA U16 Women's Asian Championship 2017) - A good number of players debuted and impressed at the FIBA U16 Women's Asian Championship, using it as a platform to launch their careers at the senior level.
Let us look at five Asian players who made the most of their past U16 campaigns and have become highly productive members of their respective country's senior team, especially during this year's FIBA Women's Asia Cup which took place in the same city.
Manami Fujioka (Japan)
The 1.70m guard had a breakout 2017, leading Japan to the FIBA Women's Asia Cup crown averaging around 11 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals per game. Her numbers are quite amazing considering it was her first tour of duty for the senior women's team, and it's reasonable to expect Fujioka to continue playing a major role for Japan in the near future. He starred for the Nippon quintet in the FIBA U16 Women's Asia Cup 2009, where they finished in second place behind China.
Moeko Nagaoka (Japan)
Nagaoka led Japan in scoring in the FIBA Women's Asia Cup 2017, forming a potent dynamic duo with Fujioka. The 1.82m forward proved to be a very spirited offensive weapon, scoring in double-figures in all but one game, including a 28-point explosion against Chinese Taipei. She was teammates with Fujioka in the 2009 U16 squad, leading them in scoring with 14.4 points per game.
Yuki Miyazawa (Japan)
That 2009 U16 team proved to be a rich source of talent for Japan as Miyazawa was also a big part of that squad. The 1.82 small forward was one of six players to average in double digits for that team, putting up 12.3 points per game. In 2017, she proved to be efficient on the both ends, registering 10.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per contest.
Li Meng (China)
The versatile 1.80m guard served the senior women's team for the third time this year, but she began her national team duty in 2009 as well, averaging a staggering 19.3 points per game for China as they swept all six of their games en route to the title. She was just 14 years old then and then also moved on to play at the FIBA U17 Women's World Cup 2010, putting up an impressive stat-line, too. She is certain to play a big part for China in future competitions.
Li Yueru (China)
A big player with an even bigger impact - that's how we can describe Yueru. At 2.01m, she is among the tallest and most imposing players in Asia women's basketball, and she sure knows how to throw her weight around. When she debuted at the FIBA U16 Women's Asia Cup 2015, she turned a lot of heads by scoring 22.1 points and grabbing 16.1 rebounds per ballgame. She averaged a double-double again in the FIBA U19 Women's Asia Cup 2016 before debuting for the senior team this year as China's leading scorer. She recorded 17.2 points and 9.3 points per contest as China bagged third place. China's future seems to be in good hands with Yueru leading the way.