Amman (Jordan), (Asian independent) The Indian women’s basketball team started its campaign in Division A of FIBA Women’s Asia Cup 2021 here on a disappointing note, losing to defending champions Japan on Monday.
India, placed in Group A in the eight-team competition in which teams are divided into two pools of four teams each, have South Korea and New Zealand in the group besides Japan and need to finish in the top two to qualify for the semi-final. However, they are in a tough group and will need to play at their best in the remaining two matches to maintain their hopes.
On Monday, they could not play at their best as Japan were very strong and won the match 136-46. India trailed 14-41 after the first quarter as Japan came out strongly. Though they restricted the free-scoring Japanese in the second quarter to 25 points, they themselves could only manage only 11 points as Japan led 66-25 at half-time.
They continued to dominate the second half, scoring 70 points while India could manage only 21 points.
For Japan, Kiho Miyashita was the top scorer with 27 points while Monica Okoye scored 24. For India, Pushpa Senthil Kumar scored 11 points.
India next play South Korea on Tuesday and will need to be at their best against the strong Korean side if they have to maintain their chances of reaching the last-four stage. They meet New Zealand on Wednesday to round off their league engagements. Both Korea and New Zealand are ranked higher than 70th ranked India — Korea are 19th while the Kiwis are 38th.