The Young Cagers suffered their third successive loss in the competition.

After heavy defeats against defending champions Japan and also against Korea, the Indian women’s basketball team suffered another loss in their third group match of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 against New Zealand. In the post-match conference, head coach Zoran Visic and captain Shireen Limaye expressed their views regarding the team’s performance.

India lost 49-109 to New Zealand to finish bottom of Group A with three points. Japan were the eventual group winners and have secured their semi-final spot in the tournament. South Korea and New Zealand will play in the playoffs for a semi-final spot.

Speaking on the team’s efforts against South Korea, Zoran Visic remarked, “They did the best they could do at this moment. The most important for us is the injury with Navanita. She is a very important player for the next game against probably the Philippines. So, it will be a big handicap for us.”

The Indian team have started strongly in the first quarter of all the matches in the tournament so far, but failed to replicate it in the next few quarters. Speaking on those lines, the coach said, “Again the same problem that we face all this tournament, you know the first half was not such as bad, but a lot of problems occurred after that. We need to organize our offence, we are very weak there. We were under pressure, so we cannot do our sets in a proper way.

“So it’s normal, it’s experience, we play all this tournament with much more experienced teams. This is another experience for us. The mentality of Indian players is not much aggressive. We are too naive, so with this experience, for sure it’s a problem to do something serious on offence,” he added.

Moreover, Zoran Visic reiterated the fact that when the score doesn’t come in favour, the players start losing confidence. He said, “Defensively you know, when you don’t score or when you get a very difficult score at the same time, you lose confidence and you get give easy points from different positions from a fast break from second chance and post up.”

Star player Shireen Limaye echoed the coach’s sentiments. Shireen Limaye stated, “It was tough. New Zealand is one of the most physical teams in this championship. It’s not as easy as it looks when we watch the game, but I am just glad we got to play with these three teams, so that we can inculcate and play a much better game in the next game that we are playing. I hope that the team which is playing against us tomorrow is ready for an upset.”

Speaking about Shruti’s growing contribution to the team, Shireen Limaye said, “She is one of the senior-most in the team. She did really well today and has 12 points and many assists as well. She is good with her drive-ins and I am sure that tomorrow she will be continuing with this game.

“In all the three games we had all kinds of practice, so I am sure that our girls and our coach will implicate these three games in our next game and we are going to win tomorrow for sure,” Shireen Limaye concluded.

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