Wuhan, China, 4 September 2015: The 2015 FIBA Asia Championship for Women has been a lesson in learning for the young and inexperienced Indian Women’s team. Having lost all of their games in Group A, including a close encounter against Thailand, India were left to face the Philippines team in a relegation/ promotion game today. If India came out victorious, they would remain in Level I of the competition for the 2017 version of the tournament. However, if they came out on the losing end, they would be relegated to Level II.
India had their best start of the tournament in this game. They dominated the first quarter scoring 22 points and establishing a 6-point lead at the end of Q1. Captain Anitha Paul Durai knocked down a couple of 3-pointers in the first quarter and India’s best player of the tournament, Jeena Skaria, got her mid-range game going. However, things did not go well for India in the second and third quarters. Forward Afril Bernardino took over the game for the Philippines knocking down shots at a high percentage. Philippines outscored India 49 to 31 in the middle periods. Bernardino ended up with a tournament-high 32 points, along with 5 assists, 5 rebounds and 5 steals. Fellow starter A. Lim, who poured in 20 points for the Philippines, was another major contributor.
Entering the fourth quarter down 12 points, the Indian women were determined to come back into the game. Jeena Skaria kept finding the bottom of the net and managed to help bring her team within 3 points of the Philippines. But the Philippines players held off the furious Indian comeback, clinging on to a slim lead to take the victory. Philippines have now been promoted to Level I, while India have been relegated to Level II for the 2017 FIBA Asia Championship. This will be the first time India will be in Level II since the 2007 FIBA Asia Championship.
Among the notable positives in this game for India was the play of Kerala forward Jeena Skaria. Having scored a team-high 28 points today shooting 11 of 16 from the field, she remained India’s most consistent player and has now established her mark in Asian basketball circles. Captain Anitha Paul Durai also had another good game with 19 points, 3 assists and 6 rebounds. India forward Smruthi Radhakrishnan maintained her high rebounding numbers with 8 rebounds in today’s game. India also managed to restrict their turnovers to 22 and shot close to 46% from the field and 74% from the free throw line.
After the game, India coach Francisco Garcia said, “We were playing quite alright on offense. But our lack of stamina and bad decisions in the last 2 minutes in a close game led to the defeat.”
INDIAN SQUAD FOR THE 26THFIBA ASIA WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP 2015
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*PG – Point Guard / Feeder, G – Guard, F – Forward, G/F – Wing, PF – Power Forward, C – Centre, PF/C – Pivot
- Team Manager: Mr. Rajendar Manthani
- Team Physio: Mr. Radha Krishna Reddy
- Coach: Mr. Francisco Garcia
- Assistant Coach: Ms. Aparna Ghosh
- Referee: Ms. Snehal Bendke
- Referee: Mr. Rajnarayan Patro
About the FIBA Asia Women’s Championship 2015 & India’s Participation
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.
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