It's not official yet, but it looks like Italy and Taiwan will meet for the 2006 women's Jones Cup title tomorrow.
Taiwan and Italy were both 3-0 after cruising to another win today, as Taiwan beat Australia U-19 NT 85-68 and Italy routed New Zealand U-21 NT 65-31. Japan beat Korea 66-57 for its second straight win.
With advantages in experience and speed, Taiwan used a 21-4 run to increased the lead in the second half, when they outscored the Australians 41-27 to put the game out of reach after a 44-41 first half.
Lin Hui-mei led Taiwan with 17 points, including 5 of 8 from threes. Chiang Feng-chun had 14 points and 7 steals while point guard Wen Chi dished out 6 assists to go with 14 points.
Australia was paced by Abbey Bishop's 18 points and 8 boards. Marianna Tolo had 11.
Italy, a team that crashed in the first round of the 2005 Euro and didn't make it to the final stage, totally dominated the younger New Zealanders by allowing less than 10 points each in the final three quarters. New Zealand scored 10 in the first period and had five, eight and eight in the last three.
Laura Macchi scored game-high 22 points again for the Italians. Simona Ballardini had 10. Micaela Cocks was the only double-digit scorer for New Zealand with 11 points.
In the most competitive game of the day, Japan's Asami Ikeda scored on an offensive rebound with less than a minute to go and helped Japan increase the lead to six, 63-57. Japan then scored again on a fastbreak off a steal to decide the outcome.
Noriko Sakakibara led Japan with 19 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Center Kumiko Yamada had 19 points and 5 boards.
Korea, which dropped to 0-3, was led by Han Chae-jin's 19 points and 8 rebounds. Kim Youn-joo had 13 points and Kim Soo-yeon turned in 12 points, 5 boards, 4 assists and 3 steals.
New Zealand 1-2