• Staff Report


The Japan women’s national team began defense of its FIBA Asia Women’s Championship title from 2013 with a 59-53 Group A victory over South Korea on Saturday in Wuhan, China.

Ramu Tokashiki and Sanae Motokawa had 12 points apiece for Japan, which led 31-30 at halftime of their 2015 tournament opener.

Japan’s Yuka Mamiya contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds and Maki Takada poured in 10 points. Captain Asami Yoshida supplied seven points, six rebounds, six assists and five steals.

Tokashiki, who’s having a solid rookie season for the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, added nine rebounds and two blocks.

Japan struggled from 3-point range, making 2 of 13 shots. But coach Tomohide Utsumi’s club out-rebounded South Korea 40-33 and forced 19 turnovers.

South Korea shot 37.5 percent (3-for-8) at the free-throw line.

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