Kazakhstan overpower battling India

Kazakhstan overpower battling India

India's Shireen Limaye (centre R) shoots past Kazakhstan's Anna Vinokura (C) in their women's basketball preliminary Group A game on Friday. AFP

Kazakhstan overcame brief periods of resistance from India to post a 79-61 win in Asian Games women’s basketball on Friday.

Playing in Group A, India had their chances but shooting woes let them down even as Kazakhstan made full use of their physical superiority to power through. It was their first victory, having lost their opener 42-72 to Chinese Taipei.

At several moments in the first and second quarter, the Indian women came close to their rivals who had run up an early lead. But Kazakhstan came through these uncertain phases, thanks mainly to Indian mistakes in shooting.

The errors pegged the Indians back repeatedly while they also committed too many fouls, ceding advantage via free-throws. 

Kazakhstan led 18-13 in the first quarter but Indians staged a fightback in the second, with Raspreet Sidhu and Shireen Limaye leading their recovery. At one point, they pulled it back to 19-21 but Kazakhstan pulled away to lead 26-19, before closing the first half with a 37-25 advantage.

India again rallied in the third quarter, clawing their way back from 37-47. Jeena and Stephy Nixon were on the mark while Karnataka girl H M Bhandavya, who came in briefly in the quarter, fired in a three-pointer to narrow the gap to five points at 44-49. Soon after, India lost Raspreet, who had to leave with five personal fouls.

From then on, it was Kazakhstan all the way as the Indian challenge wilted and withered in the final quarter. The score in the third quarter read 22-21 in favour of the Kazakhs and 20-15 in the final quarter.

India’s next match is against Chinese Taipei on Sunday. Unified Korea and Indonesia are the other teams in the group. 

Brief scores: Kazakhstan: 79 (Tamara Yagodkina 21, Zalina Kurazova 16) bt India: 61 (Stephy Nixon 12, Jeena P S 15, Raspreet Sidhu 11).

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