Guard Micaela Cocks has guided the NZ Tall Ferns home 75-72 over Japan to finish tied for the best record at the William Jones Cup.
Their 4-1 record ties them with Japan, who were unbeaten coming into tonight's fixture in Taiwan.
"It was a truly competitive game, a game of good execution for both teams at both ends of the court," said head coach Kennedy Kereama.
The two sides couldn't be separated at halftime at 37-37, but 13 third-quarter points from Cocks helped the Ferns take a hold of the match after the break, as they pulled out to a nine-point lead with a quarter to play.
Japan, who attended last year's Rio Olympics, threw everything at the Kiwis in the final stanza, but they held firm to close out the three-point victory.
"It's always good to have really close games, because going into the World Cup Qualifiers [Asia Cup], that's how we're going to get better," Cocks said.
Cocks had a standout game, shooting a game-high 27 points to go with five rebounds.
Her efforts were assisted by 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists from Antonia Edmondson, while Rebecca Ott was a force off the bench with a team-high seven rebounds.
The win wraps up a strong William Jones Cup for the Tall Ferns, who continue to build towards the Asia Cup at the end of the month.
They'll now head to Singapore for a series beginning July 11 and Kereama is happy with his side's progress.
"Although we have a lot of experience, we have a lot of debutants as well and we were very pleased with the performance of our veterans, as well as our younger players," Kereama said.
"For us, it was a very successful tournament, but we'll make some adjustments and, of course, we've got lots of improvement to make."