• Kyodo

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Ryoko Yano and Kahori Kusuda led a second-quarter rally Thursday to lift the Japanese women’s basketball team to an 82-68 victory over Bulgaria in the Kirin Cup international friendly series.

After finishing the first quarter 21-17 behind Bulgaria at Sendai municipal gymnasium, Japan bounced back to claim the lead at 48-40 halfway through its tune-up match for next month’s Athens Olympics and never looked back.

In Thursday’s other game, the Japanese men’s squad, which could not make the Olympics, defeated England 78-71.

The men’s and women’s teams will meet again in the same matchups on Saturday at Yamagata Sports Center and on Sunday at Yoyogi National Gymnasium Annex in Tokyo.

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