India eves quell Iran fightback

India quelled a late surge from Iran to score a 73-65 win in a nail-biting Group A match in Division B of the FIBA under-18 Women's Asian Championship here at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium on Sunday.

Sreekala Rani, with 17 points, top-scored for India while Harshitha and Anumaria C contributed 15 and 11 points apiece. For Iran, Fatemeh Aghazadegan Ghazvini shone with 22 points while Negin Rasoulipour Khameneh added 15.

Ahead 64-62 with just two minutes left in the clock, Karnataka's Harshitha KB, scored the all-important two points to provide India the much-needed breathing space. She then converted one of the last two free throws to settle the tie.  

Earlier, India began confidently and raced to an 11-2 lead after the first five minutes, before winning the quarter 23-13. Forward Ishwarya Janardhan scored two three-pointers, while Harshitha collected five rebounds and netted four points to put India in command.

Unfazed, Iran then staged a fine comeback in the next 10 minutes on the back of Fatemeh Aghazadegan Ghazvini's 12 points. They even led 35-33 at a point of time, but India fought back and ended the quarter, leading 40-35.

India came out roaring after the break and took a 49-37 lead before securing the third 56-47.

India will play Guam on Monday.

In Division A, Japan edged New Zealand 77-62 in their Group A fixture.

Shooting guard Norika Konno recorded 16 points and three rebounds for Japan while power forward Layla Takehara and small forward Nanaka Toda helped with 15 and 11 points each respectively. 

Charlotte Whittaker emerged as the top performer for New Zealand. The power forward registered a game-high 23 points while point guard Charlisse Leger-walker helped with 14 points and 13 rebounds.   

Australia and China too posted dominant victories. First Australia, nicknamed the Gems, outclassed Indonesia 96-28, then China turned up the heat, overpowering Malaysia 102-28.

Group B: Japan: 77 (Layla Takehara 15, Norika Konno 16, Nanako Todo 11) bt New Zealand: 62 (Charlisse Leger-Walker 14, Charlotte Whittaker 23); China: 102 (Chen Mingling 19, Yutong Liu 17, Yuyan Li 17, Zhu Dandan 11) bt Malaysia: 28 (Sin Jie Tan 12).

Division B: Group A: Singapore: 83 (Amanda Jia 18, Shuting Valentia 18, Tori Chua 10) bt Guam: 35 (Mia San Nicolas 14); India: 73 (Harshitha Bopaiah 15, Ishwarya Janardhanan 13, Sreekala Rani 17, Anumaria 11) bt Iran: 65 (Fatemah Ghazvini 22, Negin Khameneh 15).

Group B: Hong Kong: 78 (Wing Nga Poon 22,  Pui Ying Ho 13, Man Nga Shek 12) bt Samoa: 50; Syria: 56 (Anna Aghnanian 25, Noura Bshara 15)  bt Kazakhstan: 40 (Valeriya Motovilova 11).


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India eves quell Iran fightback


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