Stephy Nixon starred for the victors on Friday.

Defending champions Kochi Stars opened their account in 3BL Women’s League, winning their first ‘Round’ title. ‘3BL’, the only 3X3 Professional Basketball League in India is backed by the Basketball Federation of India and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). The third season is being played at the Hotel Wyndham Chandigarh Mohali from 8th – 21st March 2022 and is seeing participation from top national and international men’s and women’s 3X3 basketball players.

Kochi Stars win Round 2 Title

Under the leadership of Indian national team centre Stephy Nixon, Kochi Stars survived a stiff challenge from Pune Panthers. The Panthers were willed to the finals by its young Maharashtrian star Durga Dharmadhikari.

However, in the title game, it was Nixon who stamped her class. The much-taller Nixon was unstoppable in the paint. From the get go, Kochi Stars built up a sizeable 14-7 lead. Nixon was well-assisted by guard Divyani Gangwal’s outside shooting and tough layups.

Panthers were kept afloat by the tireless Dharmadhikari who was all over the floor despite the searing afternoon heat. Her long two-pointers cut down Kochi’s lead to within four, but in the end, it was a comfortable 19-15 victory for the team from down south.  

“I was extra motivated since [our teammate] Ari (first foreign player in 3BL Women’s League) is out. We just wanted to play our best and give it our all. I’ve met so many new players and you learn something new from each one,” said Panthers’ Dharmadhikari.

Indian Women’s Team Stars in action

Multiple Indian national team players (Geethu Anna Rahul – Coimbatore Spunkies; Raspreet Sidhu – Delhi Divas; Stephy Nixon – Kochi Stars and Anmolpreet Kaur – Ludhiana Queens)  went head to head presenting intriguing match-ups.

India seniors Anitha Pauldurai, who was awarded the Padma Shri in 2021, and Smruthi Radhakrishnan made their season debuts for Jaipur Regals and Pune Panthers respectively.

Nixon & Sidhu’s Rivalry Continues

Earlier in the semifinals, Nixon had come through for Kochi to beat Raspreet Sidhu’s Delhi Divas in an exciting 17-15 overtime game.

This was the second overtime game between the two teams. In the pool stages of Round 1, Kochi Stars had similarly prevailed. However, later in the same round, the two teams had met again in the finals. In this re-match Delhi Divas exacted revenge to be crowned Round 1 champions.

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