Germany came in to the game with renewed confidence following their defeat of Turkey yesterday, and pushed ahead to a 12-6 lead in the first quarter making the most of their opportunities. Japan, although putting extensive defensive pressure on and forcing Germany into a number of turnovers, struggled to convert their chances with a shooting percentage of just 19%.
The second quarter belonged to Japan bringing it back to a one-point game, 16-17, as Germany struggled to cope with the speed of Japan.
Germany extended their lead to five points, 29-24, in the third quarter as they controlled the tempo of the game to suit them. However, a huge fight back from Japan in the final quarter, which they won 18-8, broke the German’s hopes of advancing to the semi-finals. The 42-37 victory means that Japan will advance to the semi-finals of the Women’s U25 World Championship for the first ever time.
Japan’s Amane Yanagimoto led the scoring with 21 points, whilst Kotone Usui picked up a double double of 10 points and 17 rebounds. For Germany, three players shared the main bulk of the scoring with Catharina Weiss, Rebecca Lieb and Svenja Erni all making 10 points each.
Japan’s captain, Kimi Yoshioka, said:
“I think we won because we have very strong team work and without the team working together as they did, we could not win. We will go into the semi-final and just do what we need to do and play how we know we have like we have done to get to the semi-final.
“When I woke up this morning I felt we would win, but when we started the game I think Germany were reading the game well in the first and second quarter, the score being too close, but eventually we came back and winning it in the last minute, gave us the opportunity to learn how to win a tough game.”
Germany Head Coach, Dennis Nohl, said:
“We made such a big improvement over the past week at this tournament. We had tough games in the beginning and we never expected to be so close to Japan, but if you lead for 36 minutes you want to win the game. We aren’t tough enough to play 40 minutes of basketball but we are now able to play 36 minutes. We lose together as a team and everyone has to now work at home for the next tournament, but this will be after the tournament here. Now we have to keep our focus for the next game, which of course is difficult after a tough loss, but we want 5th place to match our last World Championship place, that’s what it is all about now.”