Ramu Tokashiki, Nan Chen among 6 key players to spark past Women's Asia Cup championship runs

Photo : www.fiba.basketball
www.fiba.basketbal|18-Sep-2019 15:31

BENGALURU (India) - It takes more than one stay player to win a championship. Ask anyone and they’ll say the same. The same teamwork concept applies to the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup, too. Here are some stars who, as talented as their teams were, played a major part in helping their respective teams win an Asia Cup title!

Asami Yoshida (Japan)
There might not be a more impressive resume in Asian basketball than that of Asami Yoshida. Her debut in Women’s Asia Cup 2007 as a 20-year-old resulted in a 3rd place finish. She stepped up as a legitimate star in 2009, her second Asia Cup where she nearly recorded a triple-double of 9 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists in the 3rd place game win over Chinese-Taipei.

It wasn’t until 2013 when she finally won her first Asia Cup title with Japan before winning two more in the consecutive following tournaments. Yoshida has earned her reputation as a leader and a floor general, evident by her status as top 2 in assists for each year that they won the championship and an Asia Cup career average of 3.9 assists per game.

Yoshida has left a significant mark with the national team, being the only player on all three championship squads. It will be interesting to see what kind of team Japan will be without their fearless leader in the Asia Cup for the first time in over a decade.

Miao Lijie (China)
Before Japan’s three-peat, it was China who were the defending champions of Women’s basketball in Asia. A big factor contributing to China’s success is 2-time Women’s Asia Cup MVP, Miao Lijie.

In her 5 Asia Cup appearances, Miao won the title 4 times serving as the floor general for team China. The only time she didn’t win it all was her debut year when she was still 18 years old in 1999. Miao has been referred to as the “Queen of Hoops” in Asian basketball circles and her track record in the Asia Cup reflects why she deserves that moniker.

The former Sacramento Monarch boasts an Asia Cup career scoring average of 13.1 points per game, which was impressively consistent from tournament to tournament.

Beon Yeon-Ha (Korea)
Korea has secured one Asia Cup title since the turn of the century in 2007. It was a balanced team that had 4 players average double-digit scoring, but there’s no denying how important star scorer, Beon Yeon-Ha, was in that run.

Then at her physical peak of 27 years old, Beon averaged 15.3 points per game highlighted by her stellar performances against China. After dropping 22 points in the group stage on their long-time rivals, Beon avenged the 2005 title game loss with 15 points to secure the gold for Korea.

It’s a tough task to stop the Busan native from getting her way, as defenders found out trying to do so in Asia Cup play. Over 5 Asia Cup appearances, Beon averaged 15.0 points in 36 games. Her lowest scoring year was in her debut 2003 competition where she put up only 14.0 points per contest.

Nan Chen (China)
China was on the back of two straight absences from making it to the Asia Cup finals heading into 2001 and the arrival of Nan Chen was just what they needed.

Chen made it clear that she was going to dominate the Asia Cup as early as when she was just a teenager. Only 18-years-old in her Asia Cup debut back in 2001, she poured in 50 points against Japan in the title game to announce her grand arrival.

The 6’5” center was vital to China’s dominance throughout the 2000s, winning 5 of the 6 titles from 2001 to 2011. The only time in that stretch where China didn’t win gold was in 2007 in which Chen didn’t play.

It will be difficult to find another player as dominant across a decade as Chen was with 5 titles in 6 Asia Cups while averaged 14.5 points over 41 games.

Ramu Tokashiki (Japan)
If there’s someone that might give Chen a run for her money to go down as one of Asia’s best inside presences, it could be Tokashiki.

The 6’3” power forward didn’t arrive on the scene with a bang like Chen, but she’s been tough to stop ever since she’s had her breakthrough. In 2013, Tokashiki put up a dominant average line of 17.1 points and 8.9 rebounds per game on the way to her first MVP award and Japan’s first Asia Cup title in over 40 years. She came back in 2015 and was just as effective, on her way to a second straight MVP award and a second straight Asia Cup trophy.

At 28-years-old heading into Asia Cup 2019, there’s still plenty of time for Tokashiki to rack up more titles and individual awards before she decides to hang it up.

Honorable Mention
Kelsey Griffin (Australia)

Australia might not have won the Asia Cup in their 2017 debut, but it’s tough to leave the Opals out considering how well they had played throughout the tournament.

One standout player was Kelsey Griffin who played so well that she was named the MVP. Throughout the entire competition, Griffin posted 15.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game including a 30-point, 15-rebound effort in the championship game. More impressive than her gaudy raw numbers was her efficiency, as Griffin posted a field goal conversion rate of 61.7 percent.