Basketball: Japan thrashes New Zealand to reach Asia Cup final

Five-time defending champion Japan advanced to the final of the FIBA Women's Asia Cup with an overwhelming 88-52 win against New Zealand on Saturday.

Forward Stephanie Mawuli had 17 points and six rebounds, while Monica Okoye added 16 points off the bench for Japan.

Head coach Toru Onzuka's world No. 9 outfit took control of the semifinal at Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre with a 24-11 first quarter and was never troubled by its 29th-ranked opponent.

Japan relied on stifling defense to trigger its trademark fast transition game, forcing 24 turnovers from New Zealand while committing just five.

The Tokyo Olympic silver medalist reached the semis with a perfect 3-0 record from group play, ensuring its place at next February's Olympic qualifiers. It will face the winner of the semifinal between China and host Australia in Sunday's final.

© Kyodo News