The last time we saw India's women's basketball team in serious international action was almost a year ago. It was a celebration. With the help of a miraculous buzzer-beating, game-winner by Shireen Limaye, India won Division B of the FIBA Asia Women's Cup in front of home fans in Bengaluru. That exhilarating victory has since been followed by a long period of silence. Without any upcoming international opportunities, the squad has been dispersed to focus on domestic events.
Rejoice now, fans. This week, Team India will return to international action as they take part in the 2018 William Jones Cup for Women, set to be held in New Taipei City in Chinese Taipei. This six-team invitational tournament will be held from July 25-29 and serve as a preparatory event for the larger challenge ahead: the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia next month.
Team India is being coached by former national player and referee Shiba Maggon and led by the squad's most-talented player as captain, Jeena Scaria. Other important pieces in the roster include experienced guard Raspreet Sidhu, Shireen Limaye, Anjana Prasannan Geetha, Stephy Nixon, and more. The squad was finalised after a training camp in Bengaluru over the past month.
Team India roster for 2018 William Jones Cup
- Anjana Prasannan Geetha
- Sangeeta Kaur
- Stephy Nixon
- Bhandavya Hemmige Mahesha
- Pushpa Senthil Kumar
- Raspreet Sidhu
- Madhu Kumari
- Priyanaka Prabhakara
- Rajapriyadharshini Rajaganapathi
- Jeena Skaria
- Shireen Vijay Limaye
- Sanjana Ramesh
India's schedule for 2018 William Jones Cup
- July 25: India vs. New Zealand
- July 26: India vs. Japan
- July 27: India vs. South Korea
- July 28: India vs. Chinese Taipei A
- July 29: India vs. Chinese Taipei B
India played their first game against New Zealand on Wednesday and lost 114-39.
India took part in last year's William Jones Cup for Women and finished last after an 0-5 record.
With such a difficult fray of opponents, it is unlikely that India will be able to pick up any victories in Taipei this week. Their best hope is that this tournament serves as practice and prep for the Asian Games, where they will play a more mixed group of opponents and have an opportunity to spring a few surprises.
The 5x5 basketball tournament at the 2018 Asian Games will be held from August 19 to September 1 in Jakarta, Indonesia. India have been drawn in Group X of the tournament along with Korea, Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, and Kazakhstan.
Due to a decision by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), India's Men's basketball team and 3x3 basketball teams will not be sent to Indonesia for the Asian Games. India's Men's team didn't participate in last week's William Jones Cup for Men, either. The tournament was won for the second year running by 3D Canada.