Another loss forces India into decider at FIBA Women’s Asia Cup

India’s hoopsters lose to Chinese Taipei to finish bottom of Group A and will take on the Philippines next to defend their Division A status.

India suffered their third successive defeat at the 2019 FIBA Women’s Asia Cup Division A on Thursday, going down to a 58-87 loss to Chinese Taipei at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium, Bengaluru.

The result means India is out of the title race and will take on the Philippines in the 7/8th place classification match, with the loser being relegated to Division B.

Familiar tale

Like their two previous games in the competition, India’s tie against Chinese Taipei too began with the visitors dominating the game. While Ya En Han and Cheng I-Hsiu drove into the paint with purpose and notched up their baskets without any real challenge, the Indians were largely restricted to trying their luck in transition.

Shooting guard Lin Yu-Ting, however, was the star of the evening as the 25-year-old came up with the goods to end the game as the top scorer with 15 points and four assists. Meanwhile, their centre Huang Hsiang-Ting was a rock that the Indians found difficult to negotiate as the Taipei side enjoyed a sizeable lead through the game. 

Limaye proves her worth

While the visitors went on a rampage, India’s power forward Shireen Limaye was the only shining light for the hosts as the youngster didn’t let the opposition get to her and went about her business at her pace. 

The 24-year-old was all over the court as she ended with a tally of 13 points, five assists, five rebounds, four turnovers and two blocks to help her side salvage some pride. 

The nail-biter

Earlier in the day, in what was arguably the match of the competition so far, China eked past Australia in the final seconds of their Group B tie 70-69 to book a place in the semifinal of the Asia Cup. 

Though the Aussies were quick to get off the mark and notched up a 20-19 lead in the opening quarter, the Chinese came back hard as the game progressed to go into the half-time break with their noses in front.

The gold medallist from the 2018 Asian Games, China, were led by their experienced point guard Wang Siyu who dominated the paint to tally 18 points and three assists while their lanky centre Li Yueru held fort with nine rebounds, three steals and a block apart from the 14 points she scored with some sharp shooting. 

Lost ground

The Opals, meanwhile, had themselves to blame as they failed to make the most of their opportunities in the final quarter of a hard-fought tie. 

While they let the momentum shift after a dominant opening quarter, the Australians kept the pressure on their opponents with Katie-Rae Ebzery leading their charge with some calm finishing under pressure.

While the shooting guard helped the side score, Jenna O'Hea and Rebecca Allen used their experience well to help shrug off the Chinese assault and launch quick counter-attacks to set up their forwards with easy lay-ups. 

But despite this, it came down to the final seconds as Shao Ting came up with a spectacular move to spin and shoot past her marker in the dying moments to hand China the win.

The result meant China, along with defending champions Japan who cruised past South Korea in their final group game, moves into the semifinals. Australia will take on Chinese Taipei while South Korea will face New Zealand in the qualification matches to decide the two semifinalists.

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