Newcomers India kicked off their 2019 FIBA Women's Asia Cup Division A campaign with defeat going down 103-27 against defending champions Japan at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium, Bengaluru.
The Indian eves – ranked 45th in the world – headed into the championship as the second lowest-ranked team in the tournament, and that inexperience showed as Japan dominated the game right from the very beginning.
Japan - who defeated India 131-31 the last time they met in FIBA Women's Asia Cup in 2015 - exploited their opponent’s shortcomings once more to ease to victory.
Marching on in style
By the end of the first quarter (Q1), Japan led 28-7 and made it evident that they meant business. Looking out for their fourth consecutive title at the event, Japan - coached by Tom Hovasse - forced India to make a few changes in personnel, but that hardly paid any dividends for the home team.
The defending champions stretched their lead to a comfortable 39-11 within the opening five minutes of the second quarter, and India had no answers for their superior style of play. The trademark Japanese speed and unerring passing was on full display, and despite missing the services of their electric guard Asami Yoshida, they made India look a distant second best.
The story in the second half of the game was no different. India were only allowed three points in the final quarter as they ended up on the wrong end of a 103-27 scoreline.
Hovasse’s side scored a whopping 47 points from the bench compared to India’s lowly seven in the game. Limaye, with 11 points, was the only Indian to reach double figures, while Akaho top-scored for Japan with 23 points in her kitty.
India will take on South Korea in their next game on September 25 while Japan will play Chinese Taipei on the same day.