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PR N°47 - Japan successfully defend FIBA Asia Women's Championship title to book trip to Rio 2016
WUHAN, China (2015 FIBA Asia Women's Championship) - Japan beat hosts China, 85-50, in Saturday's Final of the 2015 FIBA Asia Women's Championship in Wuhan to return to the top of the podium and qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The Japanese - who came into the tournament as the reigning champions having claimed their first continental title in more than four decades back in 2013 - were rampant in the first half, storming their way into a commanding 44-22 lead.
Sanae Motokawa's three-pointer in the closing seconds of the second quarter seemed to deflate China heading to the locker rooms. And so it proved, as Japan returned to outscore their opponents 10-2 at the start of the third period to put the result beyond doubt.
As well as successfully defend their continental title, the Japanese ensured they will return to the Olympics for the first time since 2004.
Japan star Tokashiki had another reason to smile after receiving the Most Valuable Player award, presented by Tissot.
The 1.91 forward played a pivotal role in Japan's successful title defence, averaging 11.4 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.
She was joined in the All-Star Five by her team-mate Yoshida along with China's duo of Ting Shao and Mengran Sun as well as Korea's Danbi Kim.
Kim helped Korea bounce back from the disappointment of not making the Final to continue a perfect podium sequence of having finished in the top three at every edition of this competition, by beating Chinese Taipei, 52-45, in the Third-Place Game.
Chinese Taipei hung around and made it a seven-point game with two minutes left to play but Kim kept her composure to hand her team a precious score which effectively wrapped up the victory. Click here for the full game report.
By finishing second and third respectively, China and Korea both clinched places to compete at the 2016 FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament (WOQT) where they will look to join Japan in the field for the Women's Olympic Basketball Tournament at the Rio Games.
On Friday, the Philippines and DPR Korea both earned promotion to Level I (Group A) for the 2017 edition of the championship after winning their Level I Qualifying Games against India and Thailand, respectively.
The Philippines beat India 82-76 thanks to Afril Bernardino who went for 32 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals. Ro Suk-Yong had a near-triple-double with 10 points, 16 rebounds and 8 steals as DPR Korea defeated Thailand 66-50.
Final standings of the 2015 FIBA Asia Women's Championship:
Level I (Group A)
4. Chinese Taipei
Level II (Group B)
2. DPR Korea**
5. Hong Kong
6. Sri Lanka
* Demoted to play in Level II at 2017 FIBA Asia Women's Championship
** Promoted to play in Level I at 2017 FIBA Asia Women's Championship