Bengaluru: India extended their winning streak to five games, as they defeated Kazakhstan 68-45 in Division B of the FIBA Under-18 Women’s Asian Championship at Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Saturday.

Harshitha Bopaiah, as she has done throughout the tournament, led India’s attack with 20 points in the game to extend her tally to 74 – the most by an Indian player this tournament.

India were ahead of the Kazakhs right from the sixth minute of the first quarter. Pulling away from 4-4, the Indians never let the visiting team come close to equalising for the rest of the match.

The hosts scored 16 points each in the first two quarters, wherein Kazakhstan aggregated 16. India’s dominance continued in the third phase of the game, after which India led 54-28.

Captain Pushpa Senthil Kumar, who scored 14 points, was out for a brief while in the fourth quarter due to an injury. But, by then, India, with a 20-plus point lead, had a tight grasp of the match. They scored 14 points in the last quarter to clinch the game.

With this victory, India will be promoted to Division A of the Championships in 2020. The women’s Under-16 team and the senior team have also promotion to the top division.

Zoran Visic, who coaches all three teams, was happy about India’s progress to Division A.

“It is nice to see all three teams (U-16, U-18 and the senior side) getting promoted to A division. It will be good to play against teams like Australia and Japan. These results prove India have good talented players for the future,” he said.

“We play like one team, both offensively and defensively. So, it is much easier to cover different positions that we miss when we have good players. That is our philosophy as basketball is a team sport,” Zoran added.

In the dramatic final of Division A, China pipped Japan 89-76 to win the title for the fifth straight time. Yuan Li was unstoppable, scoring 28 of China’s total points.

Syria, meanwhile, downed Hong Kong 75-68 in the third-place play-off in Division B. Noura Bshara scored 29 of Syria’s 75 points.

In the Division A third place play-off, Australia eased to a 75-58 win over Korea. Nnenna Agnes Emma-Nnopu (17) and Mela Goodchild (21) scored more than half of Australia’s points. Emma Clarke and Samantha Kate Simons helped Australia to a 12-8 lead in the first period.

Jihyun Park, Korea’s second-highest scorer in the match, helped her team overtake Australia 27-22 at one stage. But the Aussies swiftly restored parity (at 28-28) at the end of second quarter.

The alternating of points continued in the third quarter, too, which ended with the Australians leading 54-49.

In the final phase of the game, the Aussies ran away with the match. They made 21 points in the last quarter to clinch the third spot in Division A.



Final: China 89 beat Japan 76

Third place play-off: Australia 75 beat Korea 58


Final: India 68 beat Kazakhstan 48

Third place play-off: Syria 75 beat Hong Kong 68