The first women’s game on Day 6 of the 2019 Asia Oceania Championships was a must win for Cambodia to keep their hopes alive of qualifying for the Division 1 semi-finals, whilst a win for Thailand would guarantee they take the semi-final place.
It was a really low scoring opening quarter as Thailand dominated the play but couldn’t knock down their shots to dominate on the scoreboard, winning it 3-2. They turned on the press at the beginning of the second quarter and Cambodia struggled, giving away a number of 8 second violations, allowing Thailand to go in at half-time up 15-5
With the wind in their sails, Thailand continued to push ahead and won the third quarter 10-2, to take a lead of 25-7 into the final ten minutes. Cambodia rallied in the fourth quarter, coming back to win it 10-3, but they’d left themselves too much to do, and Thailand finished up winners, 28-17.
The victory meant Thailand win Division 2 going 4-0, and sealed their spot in the Division 1 semi-finals.
Thailand’s Natnapa Ponin and Sinet An of Cambodia again lead their teams on the stats, with Ponin hitting a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds, and An getting 13 points for her team.
In Division 1, China and Japan battled it out for the second time this tournament, China taking the first game by 8.
A shot in the last second of the first quarter brought Japan back to within four points, 10-14. They tied the game up at 14-14 early in the second quarter, but then didn’t score again for the next eight minutes, in which time China had taken control of the game with a 15-0 run, to give themselves a 31-18 lead at half-time.
China extended their advantage at the start of the third, but then both teams went basket for basket for the remainder of the game, with China taking the third quarter 12-10 and the fourth ending 9-9, meaning China got the win, 52-37.
China’s win sets up a top of the table decider against Australia tomorrow.
Japan’s Chihiro Kitada was the game’s top scorer with 11 points, whilst Xuemei Zhang and Tonglei Zhang both scored 10 points each for China.
In a battle for standings in Division 2 before the crossovers arrive, the game between Iran and Afghanistan was eagerly anticipated.
Iran were the better of the two in the first quarter opening up a nine-point lead, 13-4, but a much better second quarter from Afghanistan saw them win it 12-11, and shorten the deficit to eight points at the break, down 16-24.
The third was also more even than the first, and although Afghanistan brought it back to four points midway through the quarter, Iran extended the gap out to seven heading in to the fourth, 35-28.
It took Afghanistan another four minutes to add to their total, but, supported by a noisy enthusiastic crowd, the excitement rose in the stadium when they pulled it back to be within five points with five minutes to go. They weren’t able to complete the comeback though, and Iran eventually got the victory 41-35, to finish 2nd in Division 2.
Somayeh Kohzadpour finished with a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds for Iran, and Somaya Noori top scored for Afghanistan with 13 points.
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.
Photograph copyright – X-1