The Indian basketball team suffered a crushing defeat in the Asia Cup 2021 opener.

The Indian women’s basketball team lost to the Olympic silver medalists and five-time defending champions Japan 46-136 in 2021 FIBA Women’s Asia Cup group A opener. In the post-match conference, coach Srinivas Murthy and captain Shireen Limaye expressed their views regarding the team’s performance. 

Speaking about the team’s efforts against a higher ranked opponent, Srinivas Murthy remarked, “We had prepared ourselves. When we played against them (Japan) in the pre-qualifiers (Tokyo Olympics). We could not score more than 25 points but this time, we were able to score nearly 50 points in this match. So I think we have done something better.”

Shireen Limaye echoed the coach’s sentiments as she stated, “We haven’t slept for five days thinking about this game and this is our first game after two years so it’s definitely a good exposure. We are just going to keep learning. It’s a learning process for everybody.”

Talking about the Indian team’s preparation for the tournament, the coach expressed that he was happy with the preparation but the quarantine period affected their performance. Otherwise, they could have done better. 

Japan is the first Asian country to win an Olympic medal in basketball after China in 1992. They won a silver medal at the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics. When asked about the opponents’ quality on the court, Srinivas Murthy remarked, “Japan is the best team. They can even beat the European teams, I think they are the best.”

The coach also heaped praise on young shooting guard Pushpa Kumar. “Pushpa is a young girl from India U-18 and U-16. We pushed her into the senior level. I think she showed her mettle. With confidence building, she can do well,” he stated.

Strategy for the upcoming matches

India will now face tough challenges against South Korea and New Zealand in the tournament. They will look to improve their performance and register a win in the tournament. Shireen Limaye stated that the players will give their 100 percent in the remaining matches.

“We just want to give our 100% in every game we play next. We play Korea and New Zealand. So if we play well and give our best then we can maybe beat one of those two teams,” she quipped.  

“As a senior, I am just going to keep telling them to have fun and keep learning from the players we play against,” she concluded.

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