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FIBA Asia Women - Miyamoto, Tokashiki lead Japan in big win
BANGKOK (FIBA Asia Championship for Women/FIBA World Championship for Women) - Japan sent out a loud message about their title aspirations at the FIBA Asia Championship for Women with a convincing win over Chinese Taipei on Monday.
Led by the first-half shooting of Michiko Miyamoto and the dominant defense all game long from Ramu Tokashiki, Japan prevailed 69-57.
The triumph would have been by an even bigger margin had Japan coach Tomohide Utsumi not rested his key players for much of the fourth quarter.
The Japanese led by as many as 25 in the contest.
Miyamoto was a perfect five of five from beyond the arc in the first half as Japan raced into a 42-24 lead.
She ended up making her sixth attempt as well after the break and walked off the court with a game-high 20 points.
Tokashiki, who missed last year's FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women with an ankle injury, had four blocks to go with her 17 points and eight rebounds.
Japan won for the second time in Level I while Chinese Taipei fell to 1-1.
The Japanese haven't won the title since 1970, when the event was staged in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and they haven't reached the Final since 2003, when they staged the event in Sendai.
Korea, 72-70 winners over China on opening night, followed that up with a 109-62 victory over India.
Park Hyejin and Kim Danbi led a spirited Korea attack with 26 and 25 points, respectively.
The Chinese, meanwhile, bounced back with a 103-62 drubbing of Kazakhstan.
Cheng Feng and Gao Song had 16 points and Ji Yanyan had 14 for the two-time defending champions.
Kazakhstan had an early 7-6 advantage but China reeled off 12 unanswered points and pull away for a big victory.
In the Level II games, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand were all winners.
The Indonesians blew out Hong Kong, 79-45.
The Philippines improved to 2-0 after a 62-55 triumph over Uzbekistan.
Hosts Thailand also remained unbeaten at 2-0 following a 60-56 victory over Malaysia.
Only the teams in Level I have a chance of making it to the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women.
To make next year's tournament in Turkey, a team needs to finish in the top three in Bangkok.
For full and in-depth coverage of the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship for Women, go to the official http://bangkok2013.fibaasia.net.
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS