Japan made light work of China in the final of the FIBA Asia Women’s final in Wuhan, winning 85-50 to retain the title that they also won in 2013.
Sanae Motokawa finished with 24 points for the victorious Japanese side, Ramu Tokashiki weighed in with 18 points and 7 rebounds, while playmaker Asami Yoshida had 11 points, 7 assists and 4 steals.
Tokashiki had an extra reason to smile, as she claimed tournament MVP honours, averaging a solid 11.4 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.
This win automatically books their spot at next summer’s Olympics, where they will appear for the first time since 2004.
But it’s not just the thrill of an Olympic birth but the raw emotion from the Japan players was clearly evident at the final buzzer. A team that overcame a great deal of adversity, following exclusion by FIBA in November, last year for failure to comply with specific criteria, they were reinststated in time for these championships and are showing the basketball world that they are united.
China will settle for runners-up and a spot in next year’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament. They will be joined by Korea, who ousted Chinese Taipei to the bronze medal.