India captain Anitha Paul Durai with the ball against Thailand. Image credit: FIBA Asia

India captain Anitha Paul Durai with the ball against Thailand. Image credit: FIBA Asia

Wuhan, China, 1 September 2015: The Indian women’s team came out on Day 4 of the 26th FIBA Asia Women’s Championship 2015 searching for their first win of the tournament. This was a likely possibility today as they geared up to face Thailand, a team ranked three places lower than India according to the FIBA world rankings released after the 2014 FIBA World Cup. Coming into this game, Thailand also lost their first three games against stronger opponents and was hungry for their first win.

Despite conceding a 7-0 start to their opponent, India did not let Thailand run away from them in the first quarter. With their shots falling, a confident India side ended the first quarter trailing by 7 points down 14 to 21. Carrying on their momentum into the second quarter, India was the better team in the second and third periods. Captain Anitha Paul Durai and India’s most consistent player of the tournament, Jeena Skaria, led the way for their team on the offensive end. Paul Durai played every minute of the game and contributed 14 points along with 9 rebounds. Skaria ended up a game high for both teams of 21 points. For Thailand, forwards Naphat Kruatiwa and Thidaporn Maihom were the main contributors. Kruatiwa put up 21 points, while Maihom had a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

India forward Smruthi Radhakrishnan drives past a Thailand defender. Image credit: FIBA Asia

India forward Smruthi Radhakrishnan drives past a Thailand defender. Image credit: FIBA Asia

With the game tied at 48 apiece at the end of the third quarter, it all came down to which team held their own down the stretch. The fourth quarter was an up-and-down affair with multiple lead changes. With about 2 minutes left in the game, the scores were tied at 57 after India forward Apporva Muralinath made 1 out of 2 freethrows. After a 2-point jumper from Thailand put them up by 2 points, India responded with a clutch 3-pointer from Poojamol Subhashmon that gave India a 1-point lead with little over a minute left in the game. Immediately after, there was an exchange of buckets between the teams. Thailand forward Maihom made her way to the line and converted both freethrows. India’s R. Rajaganapathi then nailed a 2-pointer to put India ahead by 1 point with under 30 seconds left in the game. But India conceded 4 crucial points in the final 20 seconds, which put Thailand up by 3 points leading 65 to 62. India did have one last chance to get back in the game, with captain Anitha Paul Durai getting fouled on a 3-point attempt. Unfortunately, she missed 2 out of the 3 freethrows and the game ended with Thailand hanging on to a 2-point lead.

India Coach Francisco Garcia speaks to his players during the game against Thailand. Image credit: FIBA Asia

India Coach Francisco Garcia speaks to his players during the game against Thailand. Image credit: FIBA Asia

Understandably upset after the hard fought contest, India Coach Francisco Garcia said, “We lost the game at the end due to mistakes stemming from our inexperience. We could not handle the pressure with silly turnovers and indiscipline on the court.

Despite ending up on the losing side, there were a lot of positives for India in this game to build upon. India outrebounded Thailand 49 to 36, which included 14 offensive rebounds. India’s Smruthi Radhakrishnan was the leading rebounder among players on both teams with 12 rebounds. India also improved on their freethrow shooting, converting at a rate of close to 74% in this game. The team also took good care of the ball with a relatively low 21 turnovers today.

India’s final Group A game will be against Korea tomorrow.

Thailand (N Kruatiwa 21, T Maihom 19 pts & 10 rbs) bt India (Jeena Skaria 21, Anitha Paul Durai 14, Bhandavya 10) 65-63 (21-14, 14-17, 13-17, 17-15)

UPCOMING INDIA TEAM GROUP A SCHEDULE FOR 26TH FIBA ASIA WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP 2015

Match Day and Date Local Time in Wuhan, China Indian Standard Time
India v. Korea Wednesday, 2 September 2015 3:00 p.m. 12:30 p.m.

INDIAN SQUAD FOR THE 26THFIBA ASIA WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP 2015

Jersey
No
Family Name(s)

/Last Name

First Name(s)

/Given Name

Date of Birth
(dd/mm/yyyy)
Place of Birth
(City & Country)
Height
(cm)
Weight

(Kg)

Position
04 PRASANNAN GEETHA Anjana 09/11/1994 Kollam India 177 56 G/F
06 Stephy Nixon 06/06/1992 Chalakudy India 184 79 C
08 KOCHUPARAMBU SUBHASHMON Poojamol 14/08/1996 Kottayam India 174 64 G/F
10 RADHAKRISHNAN Smruthi 15/04/1992 Thaliyil India 175 68 F
13 PALANILKUMKALAYIL SKARIA Jeena 09/01/1994 Kalpatta India 179 64 F
14 LIMAYE Shireen Vijay 13/12/1995 Pune India 178 69 F
18 HEMMIGE MAHESHA Bhandavya 18/04/1998 Mandya India 163 53 G/F
22 MURALINATH Apporva 02/02/1989 Chennai India 180 68 F
33 RAJAGANAPATHI Rajapriyadharshini 03/01/1994 Salem India 189 72 PF/C
77 PAUL DURAI Anitha 22/06/1985 Chennai India 168 66 G
88 TUDU Sitamani 04/10/1994 Bahalda India 169 58 G/F

*PG – Point Guard / Feeder, G – Guard, F – Forward, G/F – Wing, PF – Power Forward, C – Centre, PF/C – Pivot

  1. Team Manager: Mr. Rajendar Manthani
  2. Team Physio: Mr. Radha Krishna Reddy
  3. Coach: Mr. Francisco Garcia
  4. Assistant Coach: Ms. Aparna Ghosh
  5. Referee: Ms. Snehal Bendke
  6. Referee: Mr. Rajnarayan Patro

About the FIBA Asia Women’s Championship 2015 & India’s Participation

Tournament Format

This will be the 26th edition of the Asian Women’s Basketball Championship. 12 teams are expected participate in this championship and are divided into two Levels. Level 1 features the top six teams, while level 2 features the remaining six. League matches are conducted within each level and the two bottom placed teams from Level 1 play ‘qualifying matches’ against the two top placed teams from Level 2. The winning teams from these ‘qualifying matches’ qualify to Level 1 for the next edition of this event while the losing two teams are relegated to Level 2.

Simultaneously, the top four Level 1 teams go through to the semi-finals, followed by the finals. A bronze medal match is also played between the losing semi-finalists to determine the third and fourth placed teams. The winning team qualifies for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. While the second and third placed teams go through to the 2016 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

Tournament history

Prior to the upcoming iteration, 25 editions of this biennial championship have been held so far, dating back to 1965. South Korea won the inaugural edition and leads the gold medal tally overall (12 Golds), followed by China (11 Golds) and Japan (2 Golds). India first participated at this event in 1970, and has competed 16 times in total. The Indian women’s team best finish came at the last edition of this Championship in 2013, when we finished 5th. Prior to that, India’s best finish had been 6th place at the 1992, 2009 and 2011 iterations.

About Basketball Federation of India

The Basketball Federation of India or BFI is the governing and controlling body of basketball in India, and is responsible for the development and promotion of the sport at all levels. BFI has been involved in conducting camps, clinics, events, and training sessions at its academies for the development of basketball. BFI came into being in 1935 and took complete control over Indian basketball in 1950. Prior to that time, the Indian Olympic Association handled the conduct of Indian basketball championships. Since 1950, the BFI has been conducting various such championships, from the grassroots to senior team participation in international tournaments. In addition, the BFI has been responsible for the establishment of strong sub-junior and junior level programs. The BFI has to its credit produced several international players of repute, among them 17 have been bestowed with the honour of Arjuna Awards. Earlier in June 2015, 19-year-old Satnam Singh Bhamara made history by becoming the first Indian national to be drafted by an NBA team, when he was selected by the Dallas Mavericks. More information at www.basketballfederationindia.org

Vishnu Ravi Shankar
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