India dished out a gutsy display, but it wasn’t enough as it went down fighting to New Zealand 63-66 in a Group-A match of the FIBA Asian women’s u-18 basketball championship here on Thursday.
India finished fourth and last in the group, and will fight to stay in Division-A when it takes on Indonesia for the 7-8 positions on Friday.
After two defeats, India played really well and looked like it could post a win over New Zealand, but the latter proved a hard nut to crack.
Earlier, Japan topped Group-B with a 76-59 win over China while Australia finished first in Group A, defeating Korea 96-66.
India didn’t start well, taking its time to settle down. Trailing in the first two quarters: (9-17) & (23-36), it fought back valiantly in the third. Picking up speed and combining well, India reduced the margin to just four points (47-51) at the end of third quarter.
The final quarter was exciting. India equalised for the first time a 51-each with eight minutes remaining for the final whistle. From then on, it was a see-saw battle.
India had its chances to win, but not converting the free throws (18.8 per cent) would hurt the team a lot. While all metrics seemed equal, New Zealand’s conversion of free throw was above par (83.3 percent).