Wuhan (China), Aug 30 (IANS) India were thrashed 31-131 by defending champions Japan in their second Group A match of the 26th Asian Women’s Basketball Championship here on Sunday.
Coming into this game, Japan had beaten South Korea in a hard fought game 59-53, while India had fallen to Chinese Taipei. However, the Japanese faced little trouble against a young Indian side missing two of its key backcourt players.
Starting point guard Kavita Akula was unavailable for the event due to her studies in the US. Matters were made harder for India, who rested their most experienced player and captain Anitha Paul Durai as a precautionary measure.
The first quarter began with Japan taking a huge 32-9 lead. With the depleted backcourt, the bulk of the playmaking load fell on the young shoulders of 17-year-old Bhandavya H.M., who battled hard for close to 35 minutes, the most time spent on court by any player from either team.
However, India ended up conceding 36 turnovers, the second straight game with more than 30 turnovers. Japan pounced on these additional opportunities, leaking out for 22 easy fast break points, many of them facilitated by their 19 steals.
Japan also dominated the paint-game, outrebounding India 52-29, with 23 of these rebounds coming on the offensive glass.
By half-time, Japan built a mammoth 63-21 lead. In the second half, Japan showcased their deep bench, which scored a whopping 89 points in total against India’s 13, making this 131-31 win a formality.
Six Japanese players scored in double digits, while for India, Bhandavya and Stephy managed six and five points respectively.
There were a few relative positives for India, notably their higher freethrow shooting percentage (7/11) and three blocks, two of which came via centre R. Rajapriyadarshini.
Another individual statistic of note was Smruthi Radhakrishnan’s four offensive rebounds, the joint highest among all players, matched only by Japan centre Yuka Mamiya. Radhakrishnan ended as India’s top rebounder with 6 boards.
India will next face another Asian giants and 2013 edition reigning bronze medallists China on Monday when captain Anitha is expected to return to action.