Mali who took the place of African champions, Nigeria’s D’Tigress, lost their opening group game at the Women’s Basketball World Cup, suffering an 89-56 defeat by Japan in Sydney, Australia.
The West Africans trailed 21-18 after the first quarter, but then found themselves 47-29 down at the break.
Japan scored 16 three-pointers in a convincing win, while point guard Djeneba N’Diaye top-scored for Mali with 13 points.
The 2007 African champions gained entry to their second World Cup following Nigeria’s withdrawal from the international game in June.
Mali will face hosts Australia on Friday (10:30 GMT) before Group B games against France, Serbia and Canada on consecutive days from Sunday.
Australia were beaten 70-57 in their first match by France.
Defending champions USA, who are targeting a fourth straight Women’s World Cup title, began their campaign with an 87-72 victory over Belgium in Group A.
Elsewhere there were wins for Puerto Rico, China and Canada on the first day of the tournament.