Press Release: Maharashtra got back on the winning track and kept alive its hopes to qualify for the women’s final of the UPL-9th Savio Cup All-India Basketball Tournament, sponsored by Tridhaatu Realty and Indian Oil and being organized by the Don Bosco Recreation Centre. They handed strong challengers Chhattisgarh a 77-66 defeat in a women’s league match, at the floodlit Don Bosco High School courts, Matunga on Tuesday evening.
The Maharashtra women’s team, which had lost to Chhattisgarh by a solitary point (76-77) in the Federation Cup final last week, played aggressively, showed plenty of determination and managed to avenge that defeat. There was also a marked improvement in their shooting and anticipation as compared to their opening encounter against Kerala, which they had lost 71-81 a couple of days ago.
Once again Maharashtra captain Manisha Dange led by example doing the bulk of scoring with 30 points. Playing supporting roles were Smruthi Radhakrishnan (17 points), Amrutha Bhuskute and Shireen Limaye, both chipping in with 10 points each. For the losers, Poonam Chaturvedi got 18 points, while Akanksha Singh and Kavita scored 16 and 13 points respectively.
Meanwhile, reigning men’s champs Sportspower, USA, crashed to a 68-102 defeat to a resurgent Services in a Group-B round-robin league match.
The heavily depleted USA team, without several of their players, who could not travel to India due to visa issues, lacked bench strength and were unable to raise the level of their game. As a result they went down rather tamely. However, full credit should be given to the servicemen, who after their defeat to Punjab in their earlier match, were a transformed lot and played aggressively to outsmart their opponents in every department.
Ram Gopal and Narender Grewal contributed 24 and 23 points respectively for Services and Joginder Singh scored 19 points. For the American side, Jahaziel Howared was at his best with 29 points and Reed Baker scored 16.
Results – Women’s league: Maharashtra 77 (Manisha Dange 30, Smruthi Radhakrishnan 17, Shireen Limaye 10, Amrutha Bhuskute 10) beat Chhattisgarh 66 (Poonam Chaturvedi 18, Akanksha Singh 16, Kavita 13). Half-time: 41-32.
Men’s league (Group-B): Services 102 (Ram Gopal 24, N.K. Grewal 23, Joginder Singh 19) beat USA 68 (Jahaziel Howared 29, Reed Baker 16). Half-time: 35-25.