Australia and Japan make it to the finals of FIBA Women’s Asia Championship

It has been a scintillating fortnight here in Bengaluru as the FIBA Women’s Asia Championship has been underway. All eight teams and 10 matches have been intensely exhilarating and hard fought.

Now that we are in the final part of the tournament with only the finals and 3rd place match to come, let’s take a look at the teams dominant throughout the event and the ones who have surprised us. When one talks about dominant teams, the simply cannot ignore the Australians. They have successfully bulldozed their competitors in not just basketball, but a host of other sports like Hockey, Cricket, Swimming and more. From the very first whistle, they crushed the DPRK team by a definitive 81-48, and then went on to do the same with Korea in the semifinals with an impressive score of 81-64. Now they face a resurgent Japan who stands firmly in their way to the trophy. In this sea of good performances, there is one team that couldn’t perform as well as everyone expected them to. Australia’s southern neighbour, New Zealand came into the tournament with high hopes but couldn’t translate that into solid performances as they put up a mediocre score of 49 to lose against Korea, who scored 64.

Semi Final 1: Australia vs. Korea

The first semifinal between Australia and Korea was a clincher of a game and had some spectacular sporting moments. The Australian women battled it out in the semi-finals Korea to emerge victorious with a copious lead of 17 points. The final score was 64-81 in Australia’s favour, sending them straight to the finals, and also making them the first non-east Asian team to make it to the finals of an Asian tournament.

Here is a look at the highlights from the game:

Source: FIBA

Semi Final 2: Japan vs. China

The other team that will battle Australia in the finals is none other than the two-time champion Japan, that made an absolutely stunning comeback against a very powerful Chinese team yesterday. With their star player Asami Yoshida not playing, and China seizing every moment to put one in the basket, Japan needed a miracle. And a miracle is what they got, in the form of Manami Fujioka, who dazzled absolutely everyone. After having a sub-par performance at the semifinals, this 23 year old point guard bounced back in a major way scoring 19 points, assisting 14 times and stealing the ball 4 times. Her inspiring performance brought Japan right back into the game and allowed them to pull of a close victory of 74-71.

Here is a glimpse of the highlights of the game:

Source: FIBA

Final Preview:

Australia has a daunting task ahead of them if they want to beat the two time champions and claim the trophy for themselves. Japan haven’t have had an easy road to the finals, they lost to Australia and Chinese Taipei in the group stages. But their performance in the semifinals against China was really awe-inspiring and if they could reignite that spark against Australia, then they have a real chance of a three-peat. Australia, on the other hand, have had a relatively easy road to the final as they have bulldozed every team in their path. They have beat all their foes by an average lead of 25 points, except for one close match, against none other than Japan.

The key match up will be against Australian top floor general and play-maker Lauren Mansfield and Japan’s ace Manami Fujioka. Mansfield will really be pushed to the limits by Fujioka, who has been the most efficient player of the tournament so far.

This final is going to be a battle of Yin and Yan, Black and White as both teams are equally strong in their own right. We can’t predict who will win, but we can say with certainty that it is going to be one heck of a game.

Behind The Scenes

The Australian team takes a quick selfie before the match:

Inspiring shots by Yoshida Asami of the Japanese team:

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