The Asian nation does not have a rich basketball history, which also goes for the basketball 3×3 format. Lying 32nd in the world U-18 women’s rankings and eighth in Asia, they are making their first YOG appearance and were not expected to upset the Egyptians in their Pool B opener.
Defying the odds, Leia Hamza, Lubna Morseth, Nihari Athukorala Wickramage and Rashmi Taniya P. Sri Wickramage Don combined to pull off a fine 17-15 win, which they celebrated with a joyous mid-court huddle as fans waved a Sri Lanka flag in the stands.
“It wasn’t easy at first, but we never gave up and it ended up being a close match,” said Hamza, who hit three two-pointers. It’s great to play for your country at the Games. It’s a feeling you can’t explain. We’re taking it step by step and we’re not thinking about the podium.”
Team-mate Morseth, who was Sri Lanka’s top scorer with seven points and also collected 11 rebounds, echoed those words: “We hope Buenos Aires 2018 is the first step in our careers. We’ve a lot of support from our country and we’re so happy.”
In their second game of the day, the Asians took on basketball giants USA and competed well in a keenly contested opening to the game. The Americans’ slick interplay eventually told, however, and they coasted to a 21-8 win, the start of what they will hope is a run to the gold medal.
Courtesy of olympic.org