Japan suffered defeat at the hands of Australia in the opening game of the women’s competition at the 2019 Asia Oceania Championships taking place in Pattaya, Thailand.
Australia started tentatively as Japan’s speed and intensity looked to be getting the better of them with Japan taking a 10-2 first quarter lead. Australia settled down though and won the second and third quarters comfortably to take a thirteen-point lead going in to the fourth period, 35-22 up. Japan were struggling to score, shooting at 25% from the field for the game, along with giving up 20 turnovers. Australia won the last by four, running out winners, 50-33.
Australia’s Amber Merritt topped all scorers with 14 points, with Annabelle Lindsay (13 points) and Teisha Shadwell (10 points) also getting in double figures for the Aussies. Chihiro Kitada top scored for Japan with 11 points, with Mayo Hagino scoring 10 points.
In Division 2 of the women’s competition, hosts Thailand were clinical in their defeat of newcomers India, 59-12.
Thailand won the first quarter 19-2, to effectively kill the game as a contest, with the remaining three periods following a similar pattern, as Thailand cruised to quarter scores of 14-4, 10-0, and 16-6. Both teams played all twelve players in their squads to give valuable time on court to everyone.
Thailand captain Anulak Sirinikorn scored 18 points and Natnapa Ponin hit 17 points. Hindu Alayamani was top scorer with 6 points for India
Both Iran and Cambodia have continued to improve since their last appearance at the 2018 Asia Para Games, but it was Iran’s height that proved to be Cambodia’s downfall, as they struggled to contain the Iranians, going down 40-22, with all players from both teams seeing the floor.
Captain of Cambodia, Sinet An finished with a double-double of 13 points and 18 rebounds, whilst Roghayyeh Amiri with 14 points and Somayeh Kohzadpour with 12 points were the main scorers for Iran.
The championships, being hosted by the Sports Association for Wheelchair Basketball Thailand, will tell us which countries from the Asia Oceania Zone will qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Tomorrow is the first full day of action with 10 matches over two courts over the course of the day.