Maharashtra (white) in action against Southern Railway.

Maharashtra (white) in action against Southern Railway.

Press Release: Maharashtra rose to the occasion and produced a strong, fighting performance to overcome Southern Railway, Chennai 63-51 in the concluding women’s league match 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, at the floodlit Don Bosco High School courts, Matunga on Friday evening.

The win, the second for Maharashtra, ensured its passage to Saturday’s final against the same opponents, who had already qualified, having won both their earlier  matches in the four-team league.

Maharashtra started in rousing fashion and quickly raced to a 8-0 lead with skipper Manisha Dange getting all the eight points, from three baskets and two free throws. Maharashtra maintained the momentum and were ahead 30-23 at the half-way mark. On the other hand, the Tamil Nadu girls were unable to get into a groove. Their shooting initially was wayward and their anticipation under the defensive board was not sharp as it allowed Maharashtra multiple second chance opportunities.

However, Southern’s Assistant Coach Raneesa Rawoof’s pep talk during the break and a change of tactics saw the Southern Railway outfit put up a much better performance as they gradually reduced the deficit to 38-39 at the end of the third quarter.

The final quarter was an exciting affair as the lead changed hands repeatedly. The Railway women started with a basket to take the lead for the first time at 40-38 and stretched it to 46-43 with a little over five minutes left in the match.

Maharashtra showed great fighting qualities as they went all out, and with Renu Mourya firing a 3-pointer they narrowed the gap at 46-47 before Shireen Limaye converted a basket to put them ahead at 48-47.

Thereafter, Maharashtra continued to stay ahead and slowly but confidently swelled the lead by 10 points at 59-49 before clinching the match at 63-51.

Dange was the leading scorer with 21 points and was supported by Limaye who contributed 17 points towards the win. For Southern the main scorers was Neena Harindeeran who led the charge with 14 points and Joy Soniya chipping in with 13 points.

Results – Women’s league: Maharashtra 63 (Manisha Dange 21, Shireen Limaye 17) beat Southern Railway 51 (Neena Harinderan 14, Joy Soya 13). Half-time: 30-23.

Gopalakrishnan R
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