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Sri Lanka down Maldives to retain SABA cager title

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The Champion Sri Lanka Women’s Basketball Team
The Champion Sri Lanka Women’s Basketball Team

Sri Lanka retained the South Asian Basketball Association (SABA) Women’s Championship when they defeated giant killers and the host nation the Maldives 72-59 in the deciding encounter played at the Social Centre in Male City, Male on Wednesday.

The 2016 inaugural champions were faced with a must-win situation to retain the crown and they delivered an outstanding performance to finish on top of the points table in this four-nation tournament.

Sri Lanka and the 2016 runners-up Nepal of course, ended the tournament with the identical record of having won two games and one defeat from their three outings. However, Sri Lanka topped the points table having accumulated a total of 219 baskets and secured the Gold Medal once again while Nepal were able to collect only 167 baskets and had to be content with the Silver Medal for the second time.

Sri Lanka shot into a commanding 23-11 lead after the first quarter, and they never looked back from there onwards and completely rattled their opponents with a combination of aggression and accuracy. The Maldives, of course, looked dangerous whenever they enjoyed possession and had as many as 24 turnovers in the game, but they just could not add the finishing touches against some strong defence.

In fact, Sri Lanka played more aggressively in this game and surprised their opponents with a series of interceptions where Epciba Washington (21) played a dominant role during the first half of the game.

Sri Lanka went on to lead the second quarter 46-22 and by the end of the third quarter, they had virtually sealed the title in their favour where they enjoyed a commanding lead of 59-37 over their opponents. Centre Kamalene Mills and Shooting Guard Keyasha Siriwardana (11) were introduced to the game during the second quarter, and they were able to consolidate Sri Lanka’s position with the support of Skipper Anjalee Ekanayake and Power Forward Lubna Morseth.

The Maldives, of course, enjoyed their best period of the game during the fourth and final quarter where they were able to score 22 points with a tremendous performance against their opponents 13 points.

Their playmaker I. Rishma (10) played almost the entire game during a vain effort while A. Inasha (15) and H. Ubaidullah (14) kept the score moving with some beautiful shots from under the basket and from long range. Sri Lanka played a more relaxed game during the latter stages having already secured the contest before centre Sasanthi Samarasinghe, Small Forward Benika Thalagala and Shooting Guard Taniya Perera added the finishing touches to complete a comfortable victory in the end.

Friday, September 30, 2022 – 01:00











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