TENERIFE, SPAIN – Japan’s run at the women’s world cup ended Wednesday with an 87-81 loss to China in a meeting between two of Asia’s best.
A hot-shooting Nako Motohashi led the way for Japan, going 10-for-17 from the floor for her 25 points, including 3-for-5 from 3-point range. She also added seven assists and three steals in the game to determine who would meet Australia in the quarterfinals.
Maki Takada, Japan’s star player at the tournament in Tenerife, Spain, was held in check by the Chinese defense. The power forward finished with just seven points, more than nine below her average over the previous three games.
Huang Sijing delivered for China with a 14-point, nine-rebound, seven-assist, two-block performance. Yang Liwei and Shao Ting contributed 16 points apiece.
Having reached the knockout phase with a two-win, one-loss record, Japan got off to a bright start, with Motohashi helping the team build an eight-point lead in the first period.
But China responded in the second and third stanzas, and by midway through the fourth had an 11-point lead.
Japan did not roll over, however, forcing China to fight off a late charge that cut the deficit to three with under two minutes to go, but a late rebound and two free throws by Huang allowed China to hold on.