Japan advance to Final after surviving late rally from Chinese Taipei
WUHAN (2015 FIBA Asia Women's Championship) - Chinese Taipei mounted a late rally Friday's first Semi-Final, but defending champions Japan were able to weather the storm and prevail, 65-58, to advance to Saturday's title game at the 2015 FIBA Asia Women’s Championship.
Japan looked well on their way to a comfortable win after Asami Yoshida hit a three-pointer with 3:32 left in the game to give her team a 61-50 lead. Coach Otis Hughley's side, however, had one more run in them. Behind Chang Chi-Fang, Wei Yu-Chun, and Chang Hsin-Ko, they rallied to cut the deficit to four, 62-58, with 2:12 to go.
However, Chinese Taipei couldn't complete the comeback as they turned the ball over, missed open shots and failed to get second-chance opportunities as Japan steadied themselves and survived in the endgame.
Yoshida also handed out 9 assists in a great showcase of play-making.
Bao Hsi-Le paced Chinese Taipei with 18 points and 9 rebounds, while Chang Chi-Fang dropped 13 points and 2 three-pointers.
Turning Point: Off a Tokashiki turnover, Chinese Taipei had a chance to cut the lead to just one point on Chang Chi-Fang's three-point try, but the 1.73m guard misfired. Takada grabbed the rebound and handed it off to Motokawa, who drew a foul. She went 3-of-4 from the free-throw line in the final minute of the game to ice the victory for the Japanese.
Stats Don't Lie: Free throws were huge in this game. Japan's aggressive play was rewarded with 20 attempts, while Chinese Taipei got to the line just eight times. Japan made 12, while Chinese Taipei made 6.
Game Hero: WNBA player Tokashiki had a tall task trying to contain Chinese Taipei center Hse Li-Bao, but she was more than up to the challenge. The 1.91m player for the Seattle Storm tallied 15 points, 7 rebounds, 5 steals, and 2 blocked shots in 34 minutes.
The Bottom Line: Japan were certainly tested in this game, and Chinese Taipei had a royal chance to upset the champions. Japan had other plans, though, and now they are just one win away from clinching back-to-back FIBA Asia Women’s Championship titles. Chinese Taipei may have fallen here, but the future looks bright as young players like Wei Yu-Chun, Hse Li-Bao, Lin Yu-Ting, and Chang Chi-Fang are set to form a formidable core for the future.