SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, Spain (AP) — The Latest on the Women's World Cup quarterfinal qualifier (all times local):
China is the first team through to the quarterfinals of the Women's World Cup from the qualifying round after an 87-81 victory over Asian rival Japan.
Shao Ting and Yang Liwel each scored 16 points to lead China to the win. Next up is a meeting with Australia, which the Chinese know well.
China was able to use its size and strong outside shooting to beat Japan. China hit nine 3-pointers, including four by Yang.
Japan trailed by nine with 3:20 left in the fourth quarter before cutting its deficit to two on Nako Motohashi's layup with 1:27 left. Yueru Li then answered with a basket to make it a two-possession game and Japan couldn't get any closer.
Nako Motohashi scored 25 points to lead Japan.
Win or go home, that's what at stake on Wednesday in the quarterfinal qualifier round.
Four games are on the schedule, with Japan against China starting the competition. Nigeria will then play Greece, France faces Turkey and Spain meets Senegal.
The two Asian nations are no strangers, having faced off many times in recent years. Japan has had the better of the rivalry lately by winning the last three Asia Cups. The winner gets Australia in the next round.
Nigeria is the biggest surprise of the tournament after winning its first and second games in its brief World Cup history. The African nation will try to continue its hot streak against Greece and ageless wonder Evina Maltsi. Greece also is trying to make history by advancing to its first quarterfinal round. The winner of the game gets the U.S.
France and Turkey are no strangers to each other. The French will need to find a way to recover from a deflating loss to Canada, which would have given them a bye into the quarterfinals. Turkey has looked off its game this tournament and would love to right itself against France. The winner gets Belgium.
Spain might have been the second biggest surprise after losing its group on a last-second layup. The host nation now must beat Senegal, which made it out of the preliminary round for the first time. The one positive for the Spaniards is that by losing to Belgium, they avoid potentially meeting the U.S. until the final. The winner gets Canada.
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports