The girls defeated Hong Kong by a convincing 83-38 margin to face Kazakhstan in the Finals
India sustained to dominate teams in Division B of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Under-18 Women’s Asian Championship as they inflicted an 83-38 defeat on Hong Kong at Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru on Friday.
Up next for India will be a formidable central Asian side, Kazakhstan in what will be the final of Division B of the competition. The finale will be played today and the winners would be promoted to Division-A.
Even when India had faced Iran prior to the Hong Kong match, they had no issues except for a brief phase where they appeared to be complacent. Nevertheless, the fixture against Hong Kong was much easier. Harshitha Kelttira Bopaiah and Dharshini Thirunavukkarasu scored 6 points apiece in the 1st quarter to help India to a 23-8 lead.
In the following quarter, Hong Kong improved upon their performance and scored 13 points. However, India maintained their lead and by the end of the halftime, the score read 51-21. Thereafter, the visitors capitulated completely. Ishwarya Janardhanan and Srishti Suren clinched the most points between them (32) and just 6 points less than their south Asian opponents could manage collectively.
India To Face a Daunting Final with Kazakhstan
India will now have to face Kazakhstan if they are to earn a place in Division A of the FIBA U-18 Championship.
Kazakhstan had a relatively competitive semi-final than India, as they faced a scare by Syria in a 76-56 win inspired Kazakhstan to a 76-56 win over Syria. Both the teams exchanged points in the first quarter until Syria broke away with an 18-13 lead. However, the Kazakhs replied back and regained their lead at the end of the quarter as the score stood at 19-18.
The same exchange of points went on till the third quarter when Syria reduced the lead to 40-41.
But what followed was a breathtaking performance from the Kazakh players, who were unstoppable. They went on to score 16 points on the trot in a blitzkrieg attacking show as they lead by 57-40. Noura Bshara of Syria, who was the stand out performer of the day with 23 points, tried hard to bring her team back in contention. But the 17 point deficit was a call too far for the middle-eastern side. The final quarter was also dominated by the Kazakhs, who scored 21 points to book a place in the final.
Two players that India will be wary of are Inna Kulikova and Diana Bushmeleva, who were simply inspirational for the central Asian side against Syria. They scored 19 and 18 points respectively to help their side surmount their opponents.
Elsewhere, Division A saw unsurprising performances in the semifinals, China and Japan, who are last year’s defending champions and runners-up respectively won over their respective opponents to set up a mouth-watering final.
While the former beat Korea by a margin of 18 points, it was the latter’s match with Australia that was more interesting (and high scoring). The Japanese scored 90 points against an inspirational Aussies, who had a tough time keeping their opponents away from scoring.
Brief Results: DIVISION A
Semi-finals: China 69 (Chen Mingling 19, Ziting Tang 13) beat Korea 51 (Jihyun Park 20, Sohee Lee 14).
Japan 90 (Ririka Okuyama 17, Nanako Todo 21, Chinatsu Umerki 12) beat Australia 77 (Miela Goodchild 26, Juliva Motuga 16)
Brief Results: DIVISION B
Semi-finals: Syria 56 (Rawaa Alhai Ali 14, Noura Bshara 23) lost to Kazakhstan 76 (Diana Bushmeleva 18, Inna Kulikova 19)
India 83 (Harshitha Kelttira Bopaiah 18, Dharshini Thirunavukkarasu 15) beat Hong Kong 38 (Wing Nga Poon 11, Wai Lok Lam 8)