Spain loses 75-86 against Japan in the first match of the Pre-Olympic | Basketball | Sports

The fast-paced game of Japan – silver in the last Games, in Tokyo -, with quick attacks, a shower of three-pointers and a very active defense, overwhelmed Spain in the first game of the Sopron Basketball Pre-Olympic Championship (Hungary) and complicated their path to the Paris Games with a defeat in which he failed to find the solution to the Asian challenges.

Miguel Méndez’s team could not avoid the script that their rival set. Neither Raquel Carrera’s great game nor Megan Gustafson’s notable debut allowed her to prevent the race from being played. Furthermore, every time they got close on the scoreboard the rival triples reduced their morale and opened their defense. On Friday they will face Canada and on Sunday the local Hungary, perhaps the weakest rival, and although three out of four pass, classification is complicated.

The dizzying pace that Japan imposed at the start defeated Spain’s idea of ​​taking advantage of its physical superiority near the rim despite the fact that Carrera took control of the rings (10-15, minute 5). Méndez was forced to look for solutions: first there was a time-out and then the appearance of captain Alba Torrens, who had made 200 international appearances, and the nationalized Gustafson.

Nothing worked for an overwhelmed Spain, which saw its disadvantage grow to thirteen points (18-31, minute 12). The Japanese’s mobility and speed, in addition to his confidence in shooting from three, gave fluidity to his scoring and his frenetic defensive activity complicated Méndez’s offensive routines.

As the minutes passed, Japan began to show wear and tear and Gustafson, patient, began to do damage near the rim. With seven points almost in a row, the player born in Wisconsin (United States) was key to a 12-2 run that set off alarm bells for the Asian team.

The appearance of Saki Hayashi from the three-point line as an alternative scorer to Evelyn Mawuli allowed Japan to open a gap again by linking three shots of 6.75 almost in a row. She thus saved a good part of her team’s income by reaching the break (36-46, m.20).

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The break renewed the Japanese energy that accelerated again after the restart until they took their advantage to a maximum of seventeen points with a barrage of triples that completely took the Spanish defense out of place. Once again Mawuli became a nightmare for Méndez’s team (47-64, minute 27) and even her sister, Estudiantes player Stephanie, joined her.

With everything against him, Méndez took the ‘wild card’ of Leo Rodríguez out of his sleeve. Two triples in a row from the Canary Islands allowed Spain to enter the final quarter with options but still forced to come back twelve points.

The Spanish team did not lack will in the fourth quarter, but they lacked effective ideas to stop a grown Japan, who did not give up command at any time and coolly controlled their nerves. At least Spain was able to reduce its disadvantage, a factor that could be key in the foreseeable multiple draws.

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