26 June, 2023
02 July
27 Saki Hayashi (JPN)
to read

Preview: Who will be crowned champions; who takes bronze?

SYDNEY (Australia) - The last day of the FIBA Women's Asia Cup 2023 promises a fitting climax to a tremendous competition as Japan face China in the title game and the Opals meet the Tall Ferns for bronze.


Reigning champions Japan are bidding to land their sixth consecutive FIBA Women's AsiaCup title in what would be their third Final success against China in a row if they do it. Meanwhile New Zealand will want to upset hosts Australia as they bid to win a first ever medal, with the Opals out to match the bronze they took two years ago in Amman, Jordan.

Here's what you need to know as we look ahead to two massive Final day games.

Japan vs China - 15:00 (Local)


We have been here before and from a basketball fan's point of view, it's a great place to be if these two teams can replicate the awesome 2021 title game which Japan only just shaded 78-73. It's going to be uber competitive, intense and a 'battle royale' that will be a perfect showpiece for what has been a tremendous FIBA Women's AsiaBasket 2023 in Sydney.

Key matchups:  It's all about Han Xu. She is playing like a runaway train now and the destination is MVP alongside China's first title since 2011. But Japan will surely have some ideas on how to handle her and limit her impact. It is likely to be Himawara Akaho and Maki Takada doing the bulk of that work. But it's going to be some task the way Han is playing. Has she got one more MVP level display left in her?

X-Factor: Tempo. While Japan have to somehow pour sand onto the one-woman fire that is the hot-hand of Xu Han right now, China have to try and slow down their opponents. Japan's ability to get down the floor quickly with great spacing and then exploit that clinically is the major hurdle to China ending this long dominant silverware streak of Japan. China needs to do as much as possible to stop Japan in the open floor and disrupt their ball movement. If they don't then, it is likely Japan will be celebrating once again.

Stats Don't Lie: Japan get it done from downtown, that's for sure. They have sunk 41 percent of their attempts compared to just 31 percent from China and that is probably the only major statistical difference between these teams.

Did You Know? This is the sixth Final meeting between these great rivals, with Japan having won the last three and China have won the first two. 

Australia vs New Zealand - 12:30 (Local)

It's like a reunion with an old adversary for these two nations who used to fight it out for Oceania gold back in the day as the two biggest rivals in the region. Now Sydney will witness them fighting for that third podium step and bragging rights.

 Australia would probably consider finishing in Third Place a success considering the number of marquee stars unable to play in the tournament. 

New Zealand would love to make history with a first medal and even more so by doing it in their rivals' backyard in Sydney.

Penina Davidson and Charlisse Walker-Leger continue to be the most likely ballers to take the Tall Ferns to a famous win, while the Opals have much more overall depth - it's just a case of who will bring it on the day, since nobody has stood out consistently.