India point guard Nishanti Masilamani in action against China. Image credit: FIBA Asia

India point guard Nishanti Masilamani in action against China. Image credit: FIBA Asia

New Delhi (4 August 2015): Facing their second straight top ten opponents China, Indian U16 girls basketball team showed some improvement in its 32-96 loss on Day three of the 4th FIBA Asia U-16 Championship for Women that is underway in Medan, Indonesia.

Coming into this game, India’s key performers were shooting guard Rutuja Pawar (averaging 12.5 point per game), centre Sushantika Chakravortty (7 rebounds per game) and point guard Nishanti Masilamani (4.5 assists per game). As a team, India had also shot the ball fairly well from the freethrow line (77.8%) in their first two matches against Korea and Japan. That said, India has struggled with turnovers, losing possession 34 times on an average in the previous games.

China led from start to finish, racking up 32-5 and 22-11 scores in the first two quarters. India’s quarter-wise scoring was restricted to single digits, barring the second period when India tallied 11 points. Significantly, India drastically cut down on turnovers (17 TOs in the game) to reduce their margin of defeat. For China, Yu Lou had a double double of 17 points and 11 rebounds with 4 steals to boot.

Unlike India’s earlier opponents, the Chinese defence was disciplined in not committing any fouls against India in the act of shooting. As a result India was unable to get to the freethrow line even once. While no Indian player scored in double digits, centre Ria Sharon was the most effective with seven rebounds, four points, an assist and a steal.

India will be looking to treat their first three losses as learning experiences in anticipation of their next opponent Thailand, which is ranked one place lower than India at 40. The match will tip off at 11:30 am IST tomorrow.

China (Yu Lou 17 pts, Shan Li 16 pts, Jiaqi Wang 15) bt India (Sushantika Chakravortty 8 pts, Nishanti Masilamani 7 pts, Ishwarya Janardhan 6 pts) 96-32 [32-5, 22-11, 29-9, 13-7]

Gopalakrishnan R
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