July 30, 2018

New Zealand win 2018 William Jones Cup for Women; India (0-5) finish last

The women's tournament 2018 William Jones Cup - an invitational basketball tournament held in New Taipei City, Taiwan over the past week - came to a conclusion on Sunday after five days of round-robin action among the six participating teams. With a perfect 5-0 record, New Zealand emerged as champions of this year's event. India's squad also participated, but lost every game with a blowout margin to finish at last place.

The William Jones Cup was held from July 25-29 and serve as a preparatory event for the larger challenge ahead: the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia next month. India faced all the participating teams in the round-robin tournament, including two squads from the home side Chinese Taipei, reigning women's Asia champions and last year's William Jones champions Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand.

New Zealand rounded up their perfect record with a win over their biggest likely challengers - Japan - in the final day of the tournament, 85-74. Ashleigh Karaitiana ended the tournament as NZ's leading scorer, averaging 22 points per game.

Team India were 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 included experienced guard Raspreet Sidhu, Shireen Limaye, Anjana Prasannan Geetha, Stephy Nixon, and more.

India began their campaign in a trial by fire, against eventual winners New Zealand, who ran rampant en route to a 114-39 victory. Karaitiana single-handedly outscored Team India with 40 points in the win.

In Game 2, Japan used a balanced offence with six players scoring in double digits to beat India 94-38.

India lost again in their third game to South Korea (Eunsil Choi 22) 101-48.

India had a relatively better scoring performance in their fourth game against the first of two home teams, Taiwan A, but the hosts still won comfortably 102-54. Scaria led India with 17 points in the loss.

In their final game, India lost to the second host team, Taiwan B, 91-60. This was, technically, India's closest game, and Pushpa Senthil Kumar led the squad with 16 points. Wei Yu Chun (20) and Hsi-Yeh Liu (17) led the way for Taiwan.

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.

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