Basketball and India

FIBA Women's Asia Cup 2021: India look to avoid relegation from Division A after winless group stage

After group play in Group A of Division A of the FIBA Women's Asia Cup 2021, India slot in at fourth and last.

In a tough pool, which included Japan, Korea and New Zealand, India failed to win a single game and will now be forced to play a classification game that could see them finish last among the eight teams in Division A of the FIBA Women's Asia Cup for the second time in three years.

They also finished eight in the 2019 edition of the competition but they weren't relegated to Division B as FIBA were unable to organize a Division B competition, the winner of which would have taken India's place in Division A.

Back to 2021, India played their three group games in three days and lost all three by a combined 188 points.

India's group stage results at FIBA Women's Asia Cup

In the competition's opener, against five-time Asia Cup winners Japan, India were thoroughly outplayed. In a wire-to-wire victory, the silver medalists from the Tokyo Olympics won by a lopsided margin of 90 points.

In the game against Japan, they were outscored by an average margin of 22.5 points. In that contest, 20-year-old Pushpa Senthil Kumar, a former NBA Acamedy Women's camp alum was the top contributor with 11 points and eight rebounds.

India's group stage results
Date Team Score Opponent
Sep. 27 India 46-136 Japan
Sep. 28 India 69-107 Korea
Sep. 29 India 49-109 New Zealand

In their second game against Korea, India fought a lot harder, especially in the first half. At halftime, they only trailed by 16 points against a team that was ranked 19th in the world and fourth in Asia.

However, in the third quarter, Korea ran away with the game on the back of a 33-7 third quarter. For India, captain Shireen Vijay Limaye was the top performer with 16 points, 11 rebounds and two assists.

Against New Zealand, the final group stage game, India were outplayed from tip-off once again. Trailing 50-27 at halftime, the Kiwis piled on the misery by outscoring India 59-22 in the second half. In this contest, Sathiya Senthil Kumar was the only double-digit scorer with 10.

What's next?

The three losses, expected given the ranking and stature of the opponents, now has India on the brink of relegation from Division A.

In 24 hours, give or take, the Indian women will take the floor once again in a 7-8 classification game against the team that finishes last in Group B of Division A.

That team will either be Chinese Taipei or Phillippines, who face-off in a later contest on Wednesday (Sep. 29). Chinese Taipei rank 34th in the world and Phillippines rank 51st, far above India's rank of 70.

If India wins their fourth and final game, they avoid relegation and finish seventh in the final standings of Divison A. However, if they lose, they will get relegated to Division B and will be replaced by the nation that wins the Division B competition, a tournament also to be hosted by Jordan in Nov. 2021.

Feature image courtesy: FIBA.com

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