Andhra Pradesh women took advantage of defending champion Tamil Nadu fielding a virtual second string team to record a convincing 71-57 win in the inaugural match of the 52nd South Zone senior basketball championship for men and women which began at the Kotla Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy Indoor Stadium here on Wednesday.

Tamil Nadu, minus its big names as they stayed back to prepare for the forthcoming Nationals, was clearly on the defensive against the home team which in contrast was packed with senior players and most of them from the Railways. At half-time, Andhra led 39-20.

With Jincy Joseph and Anusha donning the roles of pivots to near perfection and Gayathri and Asana moving with speed and precision upfront, the Tamil Nadu girls found the going tough from the word go.

Apart from speed and ball control the Andhra girls were superior in shooting also with their long-rangers being spot on.

For Tamil Nadu, Gomathi led the scoring with 20 points including two three-pointers while Suganya and Laxmi chipped in with useful contributions.

It was the efficacy of this combination that saw Tamil Nadu keep the rivals at bay and managed to restrict the scoring to 16-18 in favour of the home team.

But, as the match progressed, Andhra took charge and scored consistently when it mattered most with Anusha and Asana combined well.

The results:

Men: League: Karnataka 78 (Arvind 32, Srinivas Naik 26, Amal 10) bt Kerala 68 (Boney Mathew 13, Jomon Jose 11).

Women: Round-robin league: Andhra Pradesh 71 (Anusha 18, Asana 14, Gayathri 10, Jincy Joseph 12) bt Tamil Nadu 57 (Gomathi 20, Suganya 16, Laxmi 10).

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