The opponent in the second game is Serbia led by my teacher Marina “Personally I’m looking forward to it”
The 2022 Women’s World Cup has finally started, and the Japanese women’s basketball team, aiming to win the gold medal, defeated the Mali national team 89-56 in the first game without danger. Ako Himawari contributed to the victory with 12 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists in his starting team.
This will be Ako’s second appearance at the World Cup after the final tournament in 2018. Four years ago, when he had just made his debut for the full national team, he had little impact, averaging 1.5 points and 2.0 rebounds in four game.
“Four years ago, when I think about it now, it was crazy (laughs),” Ako recalls. This was the first game of the tournament and he proved that he has grown into a player of another dimension compared to four years ago.
“There were areas where we had to improve a lot in terms of offensive rebounding. I think it’s good that Japanese basketball was created so quickly.”
Looking back on the game in this way, Ako continues to feel good about winning the first game in a short-term decisive tournament where momentum is an important factor. “I always thought the first game was very important, so it was great to win there. I think the shooters feel good about their 3-point shots. The rhythm was very good.”
As Ako said, in this game, the Japanese national team managed 16 out of 37 3-point shots, and the long-range gun, which is the cornerstone of offense, was effectively decided. This is because he can supply the shooters, like Aika Hirashita, who succeeded in 5 out of 6 shots, in an easy-to-hit manner by kicking out of the drive. Ako was one of the players who contracted the defense and created opportunities for shots from outside corners by setting drives and cutting aggressively.
Ako said on his own play, “I think it’s good that the break is working,” but on the other hand, there were also issues. “I think I got a little more involved in the offensive rebounding, so I want to do more in the game tomorrow.”
The second match, which will end at 11:00 today, will face Serbia, under the management of Marina Markovic, who led Denso in the W League until last season. For Ako, since it will be a match with his former teacher, he said, “No matter which team comes, I will do the same, but personally I wanted to try it once with Marina, so I’m looking forward to him. . It is.”
At the end of the game, Ako said with a smile, “I’m glad we won, and I think it’s finally started.”