Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], March 15 (ANI): Defending champions Kochi Stars secured their second 'Round' title in the 3BL Women's League beating Delhi Divas 19-15 in the finals to claim their second 'Round' title in 3BL Women's League here at the Hotel Wyndham.
Kochi's Captain Stephy Nixon who is also a member of the Indian National Women's Basketball Team was adjudged the MVP for her spirited play while battling physical discomfort. This is the second win for the defending Champions Kochi Stars in the four rounds played so far, while the other two rounds belonged to their opponents, Delhi Divas, who were also being led by another national team player Raspreet Sidhu here. The third season is seeing participation from top national and international men's and women's 3X3 basketball players.
Despite missing their fourth player Vandana Arya, Kochi Stars showed tremendous heart to reach the finals for the fourth successive time this season.
The defending champions were 0-2 in the finals against Delhi Divas this season. But overcoming these unfavourable odds, Stars never trailed in this close contest. They built an early 5-2 lead only to see the Divas tie the game up at 5-5.
With Kochi's captain - the India centre Stephy Nixon battling physical discomfort - young guard Divyani Gangwal played out of her skin. The southpaw's unconventional two-handed jump shots saw the Stars surge again to a 13-9 lead.
Delhi's inspirational leader Raspreet Sidhu, a seasoned international, fought back with a couple of two pointers, bringing the game within one point, 15-16. But her rivals Nixon, Gangwal and Kanishka Dhir stepped up yet again in a mini 3-0 scoring run, sealing the inspired 19-15 victory.
"By God's grace, we won the match. Our players are very very talented and day by day they are improving," Nixon said after the game. Thanks to her performance, Nixon was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the second time this season.
Both Kochi and Delhi now have two 'Round' titles each, with two rounds remaining. Among other teams, local side Ludhiana Queens reached the semifinals for the third time this season. Debutant Kavya Singla, replacing India player Anmolpreet Kaur at the centre position, appeared to gel well with her teammates. "I feel really happy and I always wanted to grab this opportunity. I think I am going to get a lot of experience from this. All the players are very nice and the staff is also very nice. I have seen [Instagram] Stories of players and I was like 'I also wanted to play," Singla said.
Earlier in the morning, injured Spaniard Ariadna 'Ari' Geli Perez (Pune Panthers), the only foreign player in the Women's League, successfully underwent surgery in Mohali.
Prior to the start of Round 4, the standings at the end of the first three rounds were announced. Not surprisingly, the two most consistently dominant teams Delhi Divas and Kochi Stars lead the way. Following them are Pune Panthers, Ludhiana Queens, Coimbatore Spunkies and Jaipur Regals. (ANI)