|Friday – January 24th, 2014|
|Final. India Win.|
Play by Play
(*note that all four teams below have already qualified to Level 1 and these matches are being held for the sole purpose of granting the two winning teams the right to choose their pre-quarter final opponent from level 1)
Girls: Kerala 60 (Nivya Raj 20, Anusha 19) bt Maharashtra 53 (Shruti 21, Neha 12) [21-11, 13-17, 13-11, 13-14]
Following the men’s team’s comfortable win yesterday, Indian women followed suit with a lopsided victory over Macau China. There are four women’s teams at this edition’s Lusofonia Games being held in Goa: India, Macau China, Mozambique and Angola. The women’s draw is being held in a round robin format and the team with the most points after three matches will be declared winners.
Out of the four women’s teams, the two African teams Mozambique and Angola are physically strong and talented. So, India made the most of playing against the weakest side, Macau China, by dominating them from start to finish. However, despite this huge 65 point margin of victory, India is in second place behind Mozambique. Mozambique had beaten Macau China yesterday with an even bigger victory margin.
India led in every statistical category: points from turnovers; points in the paint, points off the bench and rebounds. However, the real test of its ability will come to the fore when it takes on Mozambique tomorrow at 4:00 pm and Angola on 26th Jan at 2:00 pm.
From the opening whistle, the momentum was firmly on India’s side. India held the lead for 39:39 mins of the game and kept increasing its lead at the end of each quarter.
HE SAID SHE SAID- I
“I’m pretty happy with the performance of the team. Mozambique has brought their actual senior team which is going to play the World Championship in Turkey later this year. So it’s going to be a tough match. But we will try our best and compete in the best possible manner. Angola has brought its under 23 team. So that match will be competitive as well. We will try to improve our defence. The team we were playing against isn’t very strong but still managed to score 45 points. We will also try to run the floor faster. We will need to play a high speed game.”
– India’s Head Coach Francisco Garcia, reacting to the win and the upcoming challenge of taking on the African teams
“We will have to improve in our rebounding and defense. They (Mozambique and Angola) are entirely different (than today’s opponents Macau China). They are very strong and fast. We will have to fight hard. We will have to concentrate on extra passes and fastbreaks.”
– Forward Jeena Scaria, India’s topscorer with 26 points, on her team’s strategy against Mozambique and Angola
“My mentality is that scoring is not a big thing. I prefer helping other people score and just ensuring that the team wins. I’ve seen them (Mozambique) play. They are physically strong, but we are equally physical and quick.”
– Maharashtra Guard Shireen Limaye, on why she prefers the role of a facilitator rather than a scorer and on India’s chances in upcoming matches
HE SAID SHE SAID- II
“I was so happy. We could talk in Malayalam!”
– Forward Jeena Scaria, on playing with her Kerala teammates. At one point in the match, all four Kerala players—Stephy Nixon, Jeena Scaria, Neenumol and Poojamol were on the floor together.
“She is a very talented player. The only problem is her size. She can pass, shoot, dribble-penetrate. I think with more work on her physique she can be a very important player in India’s future.”
–Coach Garcia, on the pint sized young point guard from UP Preeti Kumari, who scored 17 points.
“I’m working on my skills. I’m looking at colleges with good basketball programmes in the US particularly in Boston and Ohio where I can study and try to get into the WNBA. Let’s see.”
– Guard Shireen Limaye, on her future plans
India’s transition offense clicked from the get go resulting in 58 points in the paint. India’s pestering man to man defense also caused Macao a lot of problems and India was rewarded for its defensive energy with 30 points off turnovers.
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS
Spotted! India guard Shireen Limaye’s parents were seen cheering their daughter and the rest of the Indian team from the stands. There’s nothing like family support!