FIBA Women's Asia Cup: Japan outplays India 103-27

Himawari Akaho was the star performer of the match, recording 23 points. Point guard Rui Machida kept the action at a hectic pace, and spread the ball well.

Japan's Himawari Akaho (88) in action against India at the FIBA Women's Asia Cup Division A, at Sree Kanteerava Indoor stadium, in Bengaluru on Tuesday.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Japan crushed India 103-27 on the opening day of the FIBA Women's Asia Cup Division-A basketball tournament, at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium here on Tuesday.

The defending champion proved to be superior to India in every department of the game. The trademark Japanese offensive speed left India gasping, and tight defence gave the home team little option but to attempt wild shots and layups.

Himawari Akaho was the star performer of the match, recording 23 points. Point guard Rui Machida kept the action at a hectic pace, and spread the ball well.

It was Akaho who got Japan on the scoreboard, with an early corner three-pointer. Only a few seconds later, skipper Maki Takada found herself without company under the board to complete a perfect fast-break play.

It was a pattern that repeated itself countless times in the encounter.  The Japan unit was not quite the well-oiled machine seen in the previous edition, but on the day, it was enough to coast to victory.

For India, Shireen Limaye (11 points) stood out. Shireen, the hero of India’s victorious Division-B campaign in 2017, was unafraid to drive through the lane and take a few bumps. In total, India managed to convert only 10 of 56 field-goal attempts (17.9 per cent), and one of 12 three-point shots (8.3 per cent).

India next take on South Korea – another tough Group-A opponent — here on Wednesday.

Earlier, a dominant Australia dismissed Philippines 123-57 in Group-B. No less than eight Australian players made double-digit scores. Ezi Magbegor – the 12th pick in the 2019 WNBA draft – topped the charts with 18 points.

The results:

Group A: South Korea 48 (Minjeong Kim 10) bt Chinese Taipei 44 (I-Hsiu
Cheng 10); Japan 103 (Himawari Akaho 23, Sanae Motokawa 16, Saki
Hayashi 11, Evelyn Mawuli 11, Moeko Nagaoka 10) bt India 27 (Shireen Limaye 11)

Group B: Australia: 123 (Ezi Magbegor 18, Jenna O'Hea 17, Cayla George
11, Sara Blicavs 11, Bec Allen 11, Abby Bishop 11, Steph Talbot 11,
Lauren Marie Nicholshon 10) bt Philippines 57 (Gemma Miranda 17, Afril
Bernardino 15); China 67 (Yuan Li 13, Shao Ting 13, Tongtong Wu 10) bt
New Zealand 44 (Micaela Cocks 10).