• Kyodo

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Japan’s national team reached the semifinals of the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup with an easy victory over Taiwan on Thursday, a win that also secured qualification for the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup.

The catalyst for the 73-57 win, Japan’s third victory in four games at the tournament in Bangalore, India, was 23-year-old small forward Moeko Nagaoka, who had 28 points on 12-for-17 shooting.

Maki Takada provided solid back up for coach Tom Hovasse’s squad, scoring 10 points and pulling down nine rebounds.

Equally as important was Japan’s defensive effort on Taiwan’s go-to scorer, Bao Hsi-le. The 196-cm center was held to seven points on two shots, although she did dominate the glass, taking 16 boards. Huang Ping-jen did her best to make up for her teammate’s struggles, scoring a team-high 17 points.

By beating Taiwan, Japan will play unbeaten China for a place in the Asia Cup final after the Asian powerhouse cruised past the Philippines 117-43 earlier on Thursday. The other semifinal will see Australia take on South Korea after quarterfinal wins over North Korea and New Zealand, respectively.

Japan will play unbeaten China for a place in the Asia Cup final after the Asian powerhouse cruised past the Philippines 117-43 earlier on Thursday. The other semifinal will see Australia take on South Korea after quarterfinal wins over North Korea and New Zealand, respectively.

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