FIBA U-18 Women’s Asian C’ship: India clinches Division B title

Defeats Kazakhstan 68-45 in the final.

Harshita Bopaiah (left) continued her fine show in the tourney with a match-high 20 points.   -  PTI

India secured the FIBA U-18 Women’s Asian Championship Division B title with a 68-45 win over Kazakhstan at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium here on Saturday. The result helped India clinch promotion to Division A, capping off an excellent year-and-a-half which has witnessed all three Indian teams — other two being senior women and U-16 — make the step up.

Indian coach Zoran Visic was a relieved man after having presided over the hat-trick of victories. “It is nice to see the teams getting promoted to A Division,” he said. “These results prove that India has good talented players for the future. It will be good to play against teams like Australia, Japan etc. next.”

Bopaiah shines

Harshitha Bopaiah, India’s top-performer in this competition, continued her fine show with a match-high 20 points and 13 rebounds. Center Pushpa Senthil Kumar and power forward Srishti Suren joined her in reaching double figures with 14 and 10 points respectively.

India was in total control throughout, allowing its opponent not even a sniff. The Kazakhs, on the other hand, didn’t help their cause with some below-par shooting. There were mistakes galore as they struggled to string together passing moves and they duly trailed India 30-7 on points from turnovers.

Skipper Pushpa, who came into the tournament nursing an injured ankle, went out early in the last quarter in what seemed like a relapse, before returning minutes later. But for that, it was a glitch-free outing.

China defeats Japan

Later in the evening, China’s domination in Division A continued unabated with its fifth crown in as many editions. The two guards Yuan Li (28 points) and Zhuo Ya Fang (17 points) were outstanding as China consigned Japan to its fifth successive final defeat, beating it 89-76.

Midway through the match, the two teams were locked at 38-38, before a momentum turning third quarter, in which China outscored Japan 24-12, paved the way. The match was interrupted for nearly 30 minutes in the final period because of a power outage. But nothing would deny China on the day.

The results
  • Division A
  • Final: China bt Japan 89-76; Third place: Australia 75 bt Korea 58.
  • Division B
  • India 68 (Harshitha Bopaiah 20, Pushpa Senthil Kumar 14, Srishti Suren 10) bt Kazakhstan 45 (Inna Kulikova 10); Third place: Syria 75 bt Hong Kong 68.

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