After another day's play in the FIBA-Asia women's basketball championship, it became increasingly clear that the gulf between the big two and the rest is getting wider and wider. On Saturday, the Chinese machine rolled on relentlessly towards the podium before a sizable crowd on Saturday at the JN Indoor Stadium.

The Chinese side's skill, speed and style swept the Indian cagers of their feet. Proof, if needed, lies in the 107-49 scoreline. True, none would have laid a bet on India causing an upset, but at least the team could have saved itself embarrassment by offering some resistance.

Geethu stymied

It was obvious from the start that the China would block the route for Geethu Anna Jose, India's best bet. The Chinese had tall players under the board whose gathering of rebounds was top class. That Geethu managed only nine points compared to the 34 she scored against Chinese Taipei conveys clearly how much she was bottled up on Saturday.

The Chinese attack came in variegated patterns and speed. With Hong Ping leading the frontline sallies and Dan Liu coming off with brilliant set shots along with the drives-in by Ma Zengyu, the Indians were nonplussed despite the best efforts of Anitha Pauldurai - she scored few lovely baskets - supported by Kiranjit Kaur.

However, the rhythm and the energetic raids by China saw it lead 29-13 by the end of the first quarter and 58-21 after the second. Relentless in exerting pressure, the Chinese scored at will and intercepted the over-head passes.

By the end of the third quarter, China led 80-34, leaving no one in doubt about another three-figure mark emerging - and it eventually did a minute from the hooter.

China takes on Chinese Taipei on Monday.

For India, defeat in three matches before the home crowd must be humiliating. With matches against Japan and Thailand remaining, the team should hope at least to win one of them, if not both, to justify its Elite zone status.

With three successive victories and six points, China is a well placed to make the last four, and even the final.

Bronze medallist at the last edition in Incheon, Japan claimed its second win in three matches with a facile victory over Thailand. From the start, Japan maintained absolute control of the match enlarging the lead quarter by quarter. It was 21-9 in the first 10 minutes but eventually ended with a difference of 34 points.

It was not easy to pick the best among the Japanese players but if forced to the honour should to go Yoshie Sakurda who topped the tally with 17 points.

In another match, Korea brushed aside Chinese Taipei 96-55 for its third successive win.

Sunday is a rest day.

The results: Group A: Japan 94 (Naomi Yashiro 11, Akiko Obata 11, Ai Mitani 11, Yoshie Sakurada 17, Yuko Oga 13) bt Thailand 60 (Juthams Jantakan 16).

China 107 (Hanian Zhang 12, Xin Guan 15, Fan Zhang 10, Ma Zengyu 17, Liu Dan 15) bt India 49 (Anitha Pauldurai 14).

Group B: Malaysia 71 (Siew Teng Ang 20,Yann Yann Pee 16) bt Kazakhstan 57 (Lydmilla Sedova 18)

Lebanon 96 ( Rebacca 16, Chantelle Anderson 22, Nisrin Dandan 11) bt Sri Lanka 54 (Premila Beruwalage 16, Peidge Inoka Juwan 11, Silva 10).

Philippines 81 (Joan Grajales 22, Merenciana Arayi 20, Cherry Lyn Lubiano 10) bt Uzbekistan 73 (Guzal Burieva 10, Khusnitdinova 15, Inina Pulunina 10, Alla Krasovskaya 10).

Korea 96 (Yeon ha Beon 15, Jin Mijung 10, Park Jung Eun 17, Eun Joo 10) bt Chinese Taipei 55 (Chi-wen Lin 12).

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