JOHOR BAHRU, Malaysia (21st FIBA Asia U18 Championship for Women): Japan scored the first eight points of the game, raked up a double-digit lead in no time and cruised along without raising much sweat leaving a thumping mark in their 94-81 (Game Details) win against East Asian archrivals Korea.
“Yes. I am happy things worked out the way wanted,” said a beaming Japan coach Tatsushi Isshiki, who has the experience of taking the team to the gold medal game of the two previous editions of this competition.
“We expected them (Korea) to put up a tough fight. We wanted to take charge early on, which is exactly what happened,” he added.
Miyuki Kawamura (pic above) began the scoring for the game, accounted for 10 of Japan’s scoring in the first quarter and then went on to finish as the leader of last edition’s silver medalists campaign with a 23-point game in a 10/15 field shooting, hauling down a dozen rebounds on the defense in an overall collection of another game-high 17 rebounds.
Saki Matsumoto reeled in 22 points firing in both her attempts from outside the arc. Kanako Masuoka and Manami Fujioka added 11 points apiece as Isshiki gave all his players considerable court time each.
“The important thing is to set a momentum. Now that we have achieved that, we need to maintain it,” Isshiki said.
Ku Seul kept the Korean boat afloat with 21 points and 9 rebounds.
“This is only the first game,” said Korea coach No Wanki.
“I do have confidence in my players that we can recover. We have faltered in the opening game alright, but it’s not yet curtains. It all depends upon on how soon and how well we can bounce back,” he added.