In an extended winning streak, India defeated Kazakhstan 68-45 in Division B of the FIBA U-18 Women’s Asian Championship. While in the Division A match, China defeated Japan to clinch the overall title.
With this victory, India is now promoted to Division A of the FIBA Championships that is to be played in 2020. The Indian Under-16 and senior team have earned their promotion at the top division.
The match that took place in Sree Kantirava Stadium in Bangalore on Sunday saw an impeccable performance from the Indian side. They were already ahead of the Kazakh players’ right from the sixth minute of the first quarter. The Indian side never gave the opposing team a chance to come back and equalize the point table in the match.
The India team scored 16 points in the first quarter of the match. This lead kept on aggravating as they were on a lead by 54-28.
Harshitha Bopaiah, led India’s attack on Kazakhstan with 20 points, thus making the most of points by any player in this tournament. She added 74 points in her tally.
To note, Harshitha was playing as a replacement of Vaishnavi Yadav, an important member of the U-18 women’s basketball team for India. However, Harshitha proved her chance by becoming India’s leading scorer in the tournament.
Zoran Visic, the coach of all three Indian women basketball teams was highly impressed with Harshitha’s performance and said, “Harshitha was very good, on both the rebounds as well as scoring points for us. In the semi-finals, too, she got a double-double, almost triple-double. And, she’s an important member of this team,” Visic said.
After Captain Pushpa Senthil Kumar who was taken out due to an injury in the fourth quarter of the match. But, India basketball women’s team already had a 20-plus point lead, which made them stand in a strong position. Ultimately, they grabbed and scored 14 more points to win the finale.
Coach Zoran expressed his joy after India’s progress into Division A, “It is nice to see all three teams (U-16, U-18 and the senior side) getting promoted to A division. It will be good to play against teams like Australia and Japan. These results prove India have good talented players for the future.”
“We play like one team, both offensively and defensively. So, it is much easier to cover different positions that we miss when we have good players. That is our philosophy as basketball is a team sport,” he added.
In another final of Division A, China kicked out Japan by 89-76 to clinch the title. With China scoring a total of 28 points, the team won the title for the straight-fifth time.