India’s poor run in the Olympic pre-qualifying tournament continued, as they were downed 79-56 by Chinese Taipei in the final group game in Kuala Lumpur.
The loss means that the Indian eves finish at the bottom of their group and are eliminated from the competition while Australia and Japan will continue their quest for Tokyo 2020, finishing in the top two places.
The Indian side showed greater tenacity and tactical awareness in the game against Chinese Taipei but were ultimately outclassed by a barrage of three-pointers from the opposition. Wei-Lin Wang and Wei-An Chen were the top performers for Chinese Taipei, as they collectively scored 32 of the team’s 79 points to help them to a relatively comfortable victory.
It was Chinese Taipei who started off the better of the two sides, scoring with a three-pointer in the opening few exchanges of the game. Learning from the mistakes against Australia, India’s defence was very compact this time around, not allowing the Chinese Taipei players to score through layups. They were also sharp on the defensive rebounds, making it difficult for the opposition to score easy points.
Chinese Taipei shooters however were adept at shooting from outside the perimeter, scoring a few three-pointers to maintain their ascendency. The quarter ended with the score reading 22-10 in favour of the East Asian side, with India’s highlight being a clinical jump shot from Madhu Kumari.
India started off brightly in the second quarter, scoring points through Shireen Limaye and Aneesha Cleetus, but a couple of three-pointers from Wei-An Chen handed the initiative back to Chinese Taipei. They extended their lead even further as India struggled to cope with their throws from outside the perimeter to successfully score via three-pointers. At the half-time interval, Chinese Taipei led 47-29.
Playing on the counter
The Indian squad were quick off the block in the second half, scoring within the first minute. They began committing more in attack in a bid to bridge the point gap. While the move proved to be beneficial at first, Chinese Taipei soon began exploiting the holes in their opposition’s defence, catching them cold on the counter.
Pei-Chen Tsai was the bane for the Indian defence in that third quarter, as she racked up eight points by herself to widen the gap between the two teams. India responded better in the third game, and had some well-worked plays to find the opposition late, but it seemed like too little, too late for Zorac Visic’s side.
The final quarter continued in similar finish, with India committing too many in attack to salvage the game, and Chinese Taipei taking due advantage of that on the counter. The Indian eves also had their fair share of tough luck in the final quarter, with many of their throws rebounding off the net.
The Chinese Taipei side showed some astute game management in the final few minutes of the match, nonchalantly passing the ball around and forcing the Indian side into clumsy fouls. The East Asian side ultimately ended up winning the match 79-56, to end the competition on a high.