Friday, July 21, 2006

Women's Jones Cup Final Day - Japan shocks Italy to win Jones Cup crown

First off, I have to apologize for my error in the report yesterday in which I said Italy clinched the Jones Cup crown. You never know what will happen until the final buzzer and my report was the perfect example.

The final ranking of the 2006 women's Jones Cup took a surprising turn Friday as Japan NT shocked Italy 72-65 and won the title with the best points differential from a three-team tie.

Japan, Italy and Taiwan all finished the single round robin tournament with 4 wins and 1 loss. By beating Italy by seven points, Japan finished at the top with a plus 4 point differential. Taiwan was the runner-up with minus 1 while Italy dropped to third with minus 3.

Noriko Sakakibara, who had 17 points in the game, made three 3-pointers in the final quarter. The last of those came at 47.3 seconds remaining and helped Japan enjoy a comforatable 10 point lead, 70-60.

Yuka Watanabe had 13 points and 9 boards and Kumiko Yamada had 14 points for Japan.

Italy was led by Bubravka Dacic's 24 points and Laura Macchi's 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Taiwan routed Korea 93-70 in the last game but still finished runner-up. Veteran Chien Wei-chuan led the all-out attack by dishing out 10 assists to go with 2 points and 7 rebounds. Taiwan used a 58-20 rally in the second and third quarter to put the game away.

New Zealand U-20 NT beat Australia U-18 NT, 71-55.

1. Japan 4-1
2. Taiwan 4-1
3. Italy 4-1
4. New Zealand 2-3
5. Australia 1-4
6. Korea 0-5