At the beginning of the tournament, held in Bangalore, the Indian U18 girls were considered the favorites to win Division B and clinch their promotion back to Division A.
And the girls played like favorites, going unbeaten in Division B of the 2018 FIBA U18 Asian Championship and ensuring that they compete in Division A in the next iteration of the tournament in a couple of years. Other than a close affair in their opening game against Iran (an 8-point win), the Indian girls dominated their remaining two group games as well, winning by an average margin of 47.5 points (against Guam and Singapore).
Semifinal vs Hong Kong
Their dominance continued in the knockout stages as they faced Hong Kong in the semifinal, having received a bye for the quarterfinal as table toppers of Group A. They held Hong Kong to just 8 points in the first quarter while scoring 23 themselves. They increased that 15-point lead to 30 by outscoring the visitors 28-13 in the second quarter.
Coming out of halftime, the girls hammered the final nail in the coffin by outscoring Hong Kong 17-2 in the third quarter. Despite 10 minutes left to play, 45 points was too big a deficit to cover and thus, the Indian U18 girls advanced to the Finals of Division B, set to face Kazakhstan.
It might be quite obvious given the margin of victory but the Indians dominated each and every stat category.
Final vs Kazakhstan
Considering their other contests in the tournament, the final against Kazakhstan was a low scoring affair. Both teams struggled to score a lot but at the end of the day, the Indians just had more each quarter, enough to eventually win by 23 at the final whistle.
The Indian girls led by 16 at the half but ballooned that to 26 at the end of the third quarter and that pretty much sealed the game. Over the last 10 minutes of the game, Kazakhstan outscored their opponents 17-14, nothing close to what they needed to pose a threat.
🥳🎉 Hosts 🇮🇳 @BFI_basketball win #FIBAU18Asia Division A promotion 🆙⬆️ pic.twitter.com/PTiFgPs3ma- FIBA (@FIBA) November 3, 2018
Semifinal vs Hong Kong: Harshitha Kelttira Bopaiah - 18 points, 16 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 1 steal on 88.9% shooting
Final vs Kazakhstan: Harshitha Kelttira Bopaiah - 20 points, 13 rebounds, 4 steals, 1 assist, 1 block on 41.2% shooting
Division A update
All these four teams have booked their spots for the 2019 U19 FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup.
Magical 16 months for Indian Women's Basketball in Bangalore
Over the past 16 months, Indian Women's Basketball has started in Division B of the Asian Championships in all three of the major age groups - Seniors, U16 and U18. And each of those groups went undefeated in their campaign and brought glory back to the nation by earning a promotion back to Division A.
Each of these three teams have been coached by Serbian Zoran Visic.
"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.