INCHEON- Center Geethu Anna Jose set a new game-record of 47 points and collected 12 rebounds as India powered their way to an 86-68 win over Malaysia on Saturday and booked their place for next edition's Level I.
"I thank my teammates and my coach for having the confidence in me in such a crucial game," said Geethu, who played all of 39:12 in the encounter. "I had told myself before the match 'This should be my best showing in the Championship.' I'm very happy it worked that way," the Aussie pro-league star said.
"All of us were a little nervous obviously at the start, since this was such a crucial match in our career," she said adding "but I was telling my teammates to remain calm and not to lose their composure especially when they were fighting back."
"This is a milestone for Indian women's basketball," beamed Indian coach Sat Prakash. "The margin is a tribute to the hard work the girls have put in for the last three months or so."
"We had done our homework well. We knew they wouldn't let us get away that easily," Prakash said about Malaysia constantly fighting back.
"I was also worried about the way the defense let Goh Beng Fong shoot from the outside initially. But once they got into their rhythm I knew we were winning," he said. "You can term it the victory of our defense, in that sense," he added.
Goh Beng Fong top-scored for Malaysia with 15 points, all the scoring coming through her crisp three-pointers. But coming against Geethu's onslaught, Goh was fighting a lonely, and therefore losing, battle.
"We knew we had the height advantage. That was the reason we used Rashmi Channegowda more in this match," Prakash explained his tactics of using the center for 37:12. "I think she justified the faith I reposed in her," he said. Rashmi accounted for 14 points besides her nine rebounds and seven assists.
India 86 (Geethu Anna Jose 47, Rashmi Channegowda 14) bt Malaysia 68 (Goh Beng Fong 15, Chow Siao Foong 13, Low Bee Chuan 12). (Quarterwise: 25-18, 49-38, 73-53).