• Staff Report


The Japan women’s national basketball team dominated key stretches of the first and fourth quarters en route to a 65-58 triumph over Taiwan in the FIBA Asia Women’s Championship semifinals on Friday in Wuhan, China.

Ramu Tokashiki and Sanae Motokawa each had 15 points to lead Japan, which took a 23-11 advantage into the second quarter. Tokashiki, who plays for the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, added seven rebounds, five steals and two blocks in a strong all-around effort in 34 minutes on the court. Motokawa grabbed nine rebounds, while captain Asami Yoshida dished out nine assists. Maki Takada chipped in with six points, seven boards and two steals.

Taiwan cut the lead to 62-58 with 2:12 to play, but Japan held on for the win.

Japan, the defending tournament champion, held a 42-31 edge in rebounds.

Both teams turned the ball over 19 times.

Center Bao Tsi-le paced Taiwan with 18 points on 9-for-12 shooting and pulled down nine rebounds.

Japan, which outscored Taiwan 22-12 in the final period, advanced to Saturday’s final against China, which defeated South Korea 60-45 in the second semifinal.

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