The Tall Ferns have defeated Japan 85-74 overnight to win the William Jones Cup in Taiwan.
The win marks a major achievement considering New Zealand is ranked 29 places behind Japan.
Japan is ranked 13th in the world and New Zealand is 42nd.
It was also New Zealand’s first title in the 40th edition of the William Jones Cup, following their recent success at the Commonwealth Games, where they claimed bronze, and the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup, where they won gold.
During the game Japan made the better start, shading a free-scoring opening quarter 24-21 before extending their lead to 46-35 at half-time.
However, the Tall Ferns fought back hard, outscoring Japan 28-12 in the final 10 minutes.
The two leading scorers in the tournament were Stella Beck and Ashleigh Karaitiana with 24 points and 25 points respectively.
The tournament featured teams including:
- New Zealand, ranked 42nd in the world
- South Korea ranked 16th
- Chinese Taipei ranked 40th
- Chinese Taipei B, India ranked 45th
- Japan ranked 13th