India outclass Hong Kong

Harshitha K B of India about to score psat Tan Fung of Hong Kong in the FIBA U-18 Women's Asian Basketball Championship at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium in Bengaluru on Friday. DH Photo/ Srikanta Sharma R

India took a big step in their quest to be among Asia’s elite at the FIBA Under-18 Women’s Asian championship here on Friday.

In the Division B semifinal at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium, the hosts drubbed Hong Kong 83-38 to set up a final clash with Kazakhstan, who overpowered Syria 76-56 earlier.

Five players reached the double figures for India with Karnataka’s Harshitha KB standing out with 18 points and 16 rebounds, while Dharshini T and Pushpa Senthil Kumar added 15 and 12 points respectively. Srishti Suren (11) and Ishwarya Janardhanan (10) also made valuable contributions as India outclassed Hong Kong.

In Division A, heavyweights Japan and China will again battle it out for Asian supremacy on Saturday. The two teams have contested the last six finals in a row, with China bagging the bragging rights on all but one occasion.

On Friday, China, led by Chen Mingling’s 19 points, defeated a gritty South Korea 69-51 in the semifinals.

Later, Australia simply had no response to the late onslaught from Japan as they went down 77-90 in the other last-four tie.

Behind 38-39 at half-time after a brilliant fightback from the Aussies, the quick-footed Japanese upped their tempo in the third quarter. They outscored Australia 8-0 in fast breaks on the back of a dazzling display from small forward Nanaka Todo, who drove up and down the floor, escaping defenders to get 13 points in that period alone. Japan led 68-51 by the end of it.

Todo continued to torment the Aussies in the last quarter with her piercing runs. Adding to Australia's trouble was Ririka Okuyama, who scored two three-pointers as Japan powered to a 76-64 lead after five minutes. Mela Goodchild tried her best to inspire her side, with some neat runs but in vain as Australia conceded the game by 13 points.

Todo starred for Japan with 21 points and eight rebounds while Okuyama provided fine support with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Goodchild scored a game-high 26 points for Australia.

Results: Division A: semifinals: China: 69 (Chen Mingling 19, Ziting Tang 13) bt Korea: 51 (Jihyun Park 20, Sohee Lee 14); Japan: 90 (Ririka Okuyama 17, Nanako Todo 21, Chinatsu Umeki 12) bt Australia 77 (Mela Goodchild 26,Juliva  Motuga 16).

Classification 5-6: New Zealand: 75 (Charlisse Leger-walker 18, Charlotte Whittaker 14, Leah Mafua 13, Koha Lewis 11) bt Chinese Taipei: 47 (Yu-Chieh Chen 16, Shih Han Hsu 11).

Division B: semifinals: Syria: 56 (Rawaa Alhai Ali 14, Noura Bshara 23) lt to Kazakhstan: 76 (Diana Bushmeleva 18, Inna Kulikova 19); India: 83 (Harshitha KB 18,  Dharshini T 15,  Pushpa Senthil Kumar 12,  Srishti Suren 11, Ishwarya Janardhanan 10) bt Hong Kong: 38 (Wing Nga Poon 11)

Classification 5-6: Iran: 63 (Fatemeh Aghazadegan 29) bt Singapore: 51 (Esther AD 14).

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India outclass Hong Kong

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