• Kyodo

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The Japan women’s team got off to an excellent start in the Olympic basketball tournament, riding tenacious defense to a victory over a big, talented Belarus team 77-73 on Saturday.

Led by 176-cm small forward Mika Kurihara’s team-high 20 points on 7-for-11 shooting, including 60 percent clip from 3-point range (6-for-10), Two-time defending Asian champion Japan closed out a tight game in the fourth quarter by getting a couple of key defensive stops — something its opponent could not manage.

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