Japan hand India a reality check

Japan hand India a reality check

India were given a reality check on the opening day in Division A match of the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup basketball tournament here.

Up against defending champions Japan, the Indians fell short on several counts as they lost 27-103 in their Group A game at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium on Tuesday.

Himawari Akaho, with 23 points, top-scored for Japan. She had able support from Sanae Motokawa (16) while Saki Hayashi and Evelyn Mawuli each scored 11. For India, only Shireen Limaye reached the double figures with 11 points.

The Japanese, captained by Maki Takada, were simply too good for the hosts. With their quick and precise passing up front and tight-marking at the back, the Akatsuki Five soon found themselves ahead.

Akaho opened the scoring with a three before Takada came up with lay-up as Japan led 5-0. After five minutes it was 13-3 with Akaho wreaking havoc with her mazy runs. The first quarter ended with the Japanese firmly in control at 28-7.

The Tom Hovasse-coached side upped the ante in the second 10 minutes and led 39-11 after the first five minutes. At half-time, India trailed 18-50.

Japan put the game out of India’s reach in the third, soaring to 81-24 lead. The last quarter saw Japan outscore India 22 to 3 to register a massive 103-57 win.

On Wednesday, India will take on South Korea, who scraped to a 48-44 win over Chinese Taipei in the other Group A match. Earlier, Australia, South Korea and China claimed victories in their respective Group matches.

In Group B, Australia showed their class, handing a heavy 123-57 defeat to the Philippines in the day’s first encounter and later China downed New Zealand 67-44.

Australia, known as the Opals, proved too good for the Philippines, racing to a 38-16 lead after the first quarter on the back of Bec Allen’s nine points.

The gap was further stretched to 61-34 at half-time. The Opals stay on top for the remaining period to claim the third 86-40 before completing the rout at 123-57.

Ezi Magbegor starred with a game-high 18 points for Australia while Jenna O’Hea helped with 17. For the Philippines, Gemma Miranda (17) and Afril Bernardino (15) did the bulk of the scoring.

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).

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