It was another day to forget for India’s women’s basketball team, as they were beaten by a clinical Australian side in the Olympic pre-qualification tournament in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday (16 November).
Bec Allen and Ezi Magbegor were the star performers for the victors, while India’s Shireen Limaye showed some promise as she scored a couple of three-pointers for her side.
Australia started off brightly, scoring off their very first possession to put the pressure on the Indian defence. Forward Allen was the standout performer for the Aussies, as she racked up 14 points in the first quarter. The 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallists were also stellar in defence, cluttering the perimeter every time the Indian eves tried to attack, forcing Jeena Skaria and Co. to resort to shooting from distance, which hampered their accuracy.
The Aussies were clinical in attack as well, drawing fouls with ease and converting their free throws to extend their lead in the game. Their superiority reflected on the scoresheet as well, as they took a lead of 36-3 after the first quarter, with India’s points coming via a stellar jump shot from Limaye in the final few seconds.
The Indian side was a tad better in the second quarter, as they kept the opposition at bay for the first couple of minutes. Australia’s Magbegor though found a way to score soon on a fast break that beat a couple of Indian defenders all ends up. India replied quickly, with Limaye connecting with another three-pointer to give her squad a glimmer of hope.
However, the Commonwealth Games champions showed no respite on offence and added score another 21 points in the second quarter. India however ended the half on a high, with Madhu Kumari and Sathiya Senthil Kumar finding the net to get the score reading 57-11.
Quick off the blocks
The Aussies started the third quarter like they did the first, bombarding the Indian half of the court with relentless attacks. Within the first four minutes of the quarter, they had scored another 21 points. Their height advantage was causing all sorts of problems for the Indian squad, who struggled to haul in the rebounds. While the Aussies seemed to be scoring at will, Zorac Visic’s side managed to score only six points in the third quarter.
India’s Sruthi Arvind scored the first points of the final quarter, but it was all Australia thereafter, as they extended their lead even further, playing on the counter. The Indian eves once again ended the quarter on a high, scoring a few back-to-back points, but with the scoreline reading 114-29, they were mere consolations in the aftermath of the Aussie triumph.
The Indian eves now take on Chinese Taipei in their next group game on Sunday (November 17) while Australia prepare for a mouthwatering clash against Japan.