FIBA U-18 Women’s Asian Championship: India eves storm into semifinals

India eves had a rather comfortable outing as they went on to beat Singapore to enter the semifinals.

India's Gulabsha Ali (r) played a key role as India defeated Singapore to enter the semifinals.   -  G.P. Sampath Kumar

India entered the Division B semifinals of the FIBA U-18 Women’s Asian Championship with an easy 79-49 victory over Singapore at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium on Tuesday.

Point guard Gulabsha Ali (21 points) and Harshitha Bopaiah (15 points and 12 rebounds) starred as India quelled the Singapore challenge rather easily.

From leading 20-3 in the first quarter, the host did drop its guard in the second, allowing Singapore to outscore it 22-18.

India however was back in control after the break, aided mainly by Ali’s 13-point burst, which included three finely taken three-pointers. The final 10 minutes proved merely academic.

The pick of the matches on the third day of the tournament was the pulsating encounter between Australia and Korea in Division A that ended 63-62 in the latter’s favour.

Midway into the third quarter, the Koreans were ahead by 15 (33-48), with guard Sohee Lee (21 points) and forward Jihyun Park (18) in tearaway form.

But the key Aussie duo of captain Jazmin Shelley and Agnes Emma-Nnopu, both of whom had gone without scoring for three and two quarters each, came to fore.

The Gems went on a uninterrupted 14-point scoring spree, going 62-61 up with just seconds remaining.

Lee though had the last laugh, downing a match-winning basket to book Korea’s semifinal berth.

Later Japan too secured a last-four spot, riding on a superlative second half performance to beat four-time defending champion China 94-79.

After fighting each other to a virtual standstill for two quarters (41-45), Japan zoomed ahead in the third, notching up a whopping 21 consecutive points to leave China gasping.

The two guards, Miyabi Sakamoto (14) and Norika Konno (19), were unstoppable in the paint, outscoring China 20-8.

Then Layla Takehara, the power forward, ensured that there would be no route back for the Chinese in the last period, taking her tally to 16 points.

The results:

Division A: Group A: Korea 63 bt Australia 62; Chinese Taipei 99 bt Indonesia 54; Group B: Japan 94 bt China 79; New Zealand 99 bt Malaysia 32

Division B: Group A: India 79 (Harshitha Bopaiah 15, Srishti Suren 12, Ishwarya Janardhanan 12, Gulabsha Ali 21) bt Singapore 49 (Shuting Wong 12); Iran 98 bt Guam 55; Group B: Hong Kong 80 bt Kazakhstan 73; Syria 44 bt Samoa 37

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