They say that there is no better feeling in basketball then playing away and silencing the home crowd. Our Women’s U18 team just went toe to toe and pulled through a crucial victory vs the hosts Malaysia to secure a position in Level 1 of this competition for its next edition in 2014.
This time, we had a unbeaten 5-0 win streak in the 21st FIBA Asia U18 Championship. We beat Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong in this competition.
Eerily familiar script here. We had lost to Malaysia two years ago in the 20th FIBA Asia U18 Championship for Women at Surat Thani (Thailand). Last year also we lost the qualifying game vs Kazakhstan. “Of course we had learnt from our mistakes there,” said India’s assistant coach Shiba Maggon.
Jeena Skaria PS, II Year BA student of VK Krishnamenon College in Kannur, led the scoring column with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Anjana Prasannan Geetha added 10 points and she got fouled 12 times by the opposition. Rajapriyadharshini Rajaganapathi added 14 rebounds with 8 points. Shireen Limaye chipped in with 3 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals and 1 block.
We took control of the boards, 45-27 advantage and Malaysia missed 10 of their 16 free throws. We missed 11 of our 23 freebies to even things out. Close game all the way.
Here’s a little recap from someone lucky enough to have watched the match:
“We were determined to make up for all the mistakes we made last time,” Rajaganapathi said.
Shireen Limaye did a superb of controlling Malaysian playmaker Teo Chu Yun and returned stats of 11 rebounds, 9 in defense, 3 assists, 4 steals and 1 block before being ejected for five fouls with about 2 minutes left on the clock.
Limaye’s ouster pumped fresh oxygen into the Malaysia campaign, as the team fought back with verve and nerve and even went into lead at one stage in the closing seconds.
But, Magdalene Chow committed a couple of cardinal errors – failing to convert three of the four free-throws earned in succession and then overstepping the backline in one of the lay-up attempts – to hand India the advantage.
Here’s the box score of today’s match: