Indian Women's basketball team lost all four of their games at the FIBA Women's Asia Cup 2021 at Amman, Jordan. India were ranked 70th in the FIBA World Ranking for Women, lower than our opponents Japan (8th), Korea (19th), New Zealand (36th) and Philippines (51st).
India lost 136-46 to Japan, 107-69 to Korea, and 109-49 to New Zealand in the group stages. The losses placed India in a classification game for the 7th-8th spot with the Philippines. Playing on a fourth consecutive day, coming off losses to powerhouses Japan, Korea and New Zealand, India played with a sense of urgency, coming out strong out of the gate. After leading in the first half, India were defeated 74-70 with a spirited comeback by the Philippines.
India led 19-13 at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter saw Philippines fight back to close the lead. Philippines had 21 points to 20 for India, and closed the deficit to 39-34. The game got away from India in the 3rd quarter as Philippines won it 21-13. Philippines pulled away to a 67-58 lead with 6 minutes left in the game, before Stephy Nixon and Pushpa Senthil Kumar helped cut the lead to 67-65 in the next couple of minutes. With two minutes left in the game, India missed four 3-point attempts and the comeback fell short in spite of Shireen Limaye helping cut the lead to 70-74 with 45 seconds in the game.
Over the four games, India were led in scoring by the sisters Pushpa (10.5 ppg) and Sathiya Senthil Kumar (8.8 ppg), along with the captain Shireen Limaye (8.5 ppg). Pushpa also led the team in rebounds with 7.5 rpg. Point guard Nishanthi Masilamani led the team in assists with 4.8 apg.
"If we see this roster from 2017, there are only two players, from 2019, there are only 4 players. What we miss is the continuity and the competition of the games. Through games, players improve and develop their individual skills. India has a really bright future. There are young players, 17-18 years old who are now in the States. The generation is talented."
Zoran Višić, head coach, Indian women's basketball team.
One thing all our four opponents have is a professional basketball league in their countries. The Women's National Basketball League (WNBL) in the Philippines, Women's Japan Basketball League, Women's Korean Basketball League (WKBL), and Women’s National Basketball League (NBL) in New Zealand. In contrast, the last competitive game played by the Indian women's team was in 2019.
Competition brings out the best in us, and the Indian women's basketball team needs more opportunities to compete against high-level competition in order to elevate our game.