Level 1 Qualification Game of the 23rd FIBA Asia Women Championship, Chennai (India).
CHENNAI (23rd FIBA Asia Women Championship) - Seasoned campaigner Nisrin Dandan’s solid second quarter display steered Lebanon towards a comfortable 83-58 win over Thailand.
The win achieved what Lebanon set out for – a promotion to next edition’s elite Level I competition.
Thailand, on the other hand, will have to play the qualifying Level II in the edition for the first time after 1995.
Lebanon took their time to settle down, but grew in strength and confidence as the game progressed.
Dandan, the only member of the Lebanese women’s team when they last played in the FIBA Asia Women Championship in 2001 in the Thai capital, sparked the Lebanese march.
The 32-year-old Antranik guard scored nine of her game’s 15 points in the second quarter and effected one steal as Lebanon found the “missing link” in their offense chain.
“The girls had put themselves under tremendous pressure about this game and very nervous at the start. Nisrin’s presence and experience helped us calm the nerves,” said Lebanon coach Elie Nasr.
“The last time I was a part of the team things didn’t really end happy. But this time around we had a great team. And if my contribution was to going to count, it had to be in this game,” Dandan said.
Chada Nasr and Chantelle Anderson took over in the second half and Lebanon’s control on the proceedings and the scoreboard increased with every move.
American Anderson poured in 15 of her game-high 24 points and completed another double-double – also grabbing 13 rebounds.
Chada Nasr who effected eight of her nine assists for the game in the first half stepped up her scoring and returned 23 points – 16 of them in the second half.
“This is what we came for,” Chada Nasr said.
“But this is only the beginning. We hope the interest for women’s basketball in Lebanon grows,” she added.
“It’s like this,” said Elie Nasr.
“The federation invested in this team and gave us an opportunity to play here. We are grateful for that, but more importantly we have given them enough reasons to invest more in Lebanese women’s basketball,” the coach added.
Charothai Sukomwong was the highest scorer for Thailand with 21 points.