best female basketball players in India

Female basketball players in India, known as the “Sleeping Giants” of the sport, have demonstrated remarkable skills and realised their potential for success. As of March 1, 2021, they held the 68th spot in the FIBA world rankings, surpassing the men’s team positioned at 76th.

Despite their impressive record of nineteen appearances at the Asian Championships, there’s still room for advancement. The sport’s growth in India owes much to the contributions of these dedicated female basketball players.

Among them, Anitha Pauldurai, a former captain of the women’s team, stands out as a prime example. The influence of basketball runs deep in India, as evidenced by the remarkable feat of four sisters from a single family who have all excelled in the sport.

With their Asian Division B Championship victory in 2017, the Indian team and its players are poised for further accomplishments.

Let’s now spotlight the 11 most notable female basketball players in India who have made a significant impact on the game.

Below is the list Top 10 female basketball players in India:

Sr. No.Player Name
1Shiba Maggon
2Divya Singh
3Prashanti Singh
4Anitha Pauldurai
5Geethu Anna Jose
6Appoorva Muralinath
7Akanksha Singh
8Pratima Singh
9Prachi Tehlan
10Jeena Palanikumkalayil Skaria

Below are the details of the Top 10 female basketball players in India:

1. Shiba Maggon

Renowned as the ‘Queen of Indian Basketball,’ Shiba Maggon, born on March 16, 1980, is one of the former prolific female basketball players in India. With a remarkable career spanning over twenty years, she was a dominant forward, representing the national team and clinching numerous awards.

Shiba’s achievements include multiple gold, silver, and bronze medals at national and international levels, along with her exceptional academic pursuits.

She holds the distinction of being India’s first woman FIBA-certified referee and has collaborated with the NBA in India as an international coach. Her legacy remains one of remarkable consistency and excellence in both sports and academics.

2. Divya Singh

Part of India’s esteemed “Basketball Family,” Divya Singh, born on July 21, 1982, in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, is one of five sisters who have all represented the national team. Her role as a guard spanned from 2000 to 2007.

A former captain of the Indian women’s basketball team, she stood tall at 6 feet and showcased her skilful play and leadership qualities, notably leading the team at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

After pursuing studies in sports management at the University of Delaware (2008-2010), she transitioned to coaching, contributing to both men’s and women’s teams, including at the 2014 Asian Games.

Divya’s successful playing career and coaching journey continue to inspire future female basketball players in India.

3. Prashanti Singh

Hailing from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, Prashanti Singh, born on May 5, 1984, stands as a remarkable 5 feet 8 inches shooting guard for the female basketball players in India. With her debut in 2002, she swiftly assumed the captaincy.

Prashanti’s illustrious career boasts over twenty medals from National Championships, National Games, and Federation Cups, marking her as the senior-level National Championships’ most decorated athlete.

As the first Indian woman to represent the national team across different tiers, she notably participated in the Commonwealth Games (2006) and Asian Games (2010, 2014).

The recipient of the 2017 Arjuna Award and 2019 Padma Shri, Prashanti advocates for a professional league to elevate Indian basketball, addressing challenges of recognition and resources on a global scale.

4. Anitha Pauldurai

Anitha Pauldurai, a 5 feet 7 inches shooting guard, made her mark as one of the finest female basketball players in India with an illustrious eighteen-year career. Born on June 22, 1985, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, she embraced the sport at eleven while expertly managing academics.

Anitha captained India’s team at the young nineteen, holding the distinction as the youngest senior basketball skipper. Her leadership led to victories, including the inaugural 3×3 Asian Basketball Championships in 2013 and the Division B FIBA Women’s Asia Cup title upon her sensational comeback in 2017.

The 2021 Padma Shri Award finally recognized her contributions, elevating her status alongside the sport’s elite.

5. Geethu Anna Jose

Geethu Anna Jose, towering at 6 feet 2 inches, commanded the center position for India’s women’s national basketball team. Born on June 30, 1985, in Changanassery, Kottayam, she notably captained the national team.

Starting with the Kerala Junior Basketball Association, Geethu’s journey reached new heights. She secured a groundbreaking role as a professional player for Australia’s Ringwood Hawks (2006-08), making her the first Indian female in an Australian club.

Her trailblazing continued in 2011 when she became the first Indian player to attempt tryouts for the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) in the U.S.

6. Appoorva Muralinath

Born on February 2, 1989, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, Appoorva Muralinath actively participated in athletics from 2005 to 2017. She excelled as a power forward/centre, representing the Indian national basketball team from 2010 to 2015.

Hailing from a family with a basketball legacy, her father also played for the men’s national team. Appoorva’s accomplishments spanned multiple levels, including school, state, and university championships, amassing numerous gold, silver, and bronze medals.

Her international participation included representing India at the William Jones Cup in Tapei, Taiwan, in 2012.

7. Akanksha Singh

Born on September 7, 1989, in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, Akanksha Singh made her mark as a 5 feet 11 inches point guard/small forward in the Indian women’s national basketball team.

She captained the team and earned the distinction of being one of the top four players to achieve the “A grade” from the Basketball Federation of India. Notably, she secured the MVP award in the inaugural women’s professional basketball league in India, MBPL 2010.

Recognized for her excellence with various ‘Best Player’ awards, her achievements include a gold medal at the 2010 All-India University Basketball Championship in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh.

8. Pratima Singh

Pratima Singh, born on February 6, 1990, in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, stands at 5 feet 6 inches and has represented the Indian national basketball team. In a family of accomplished athletes, her journey began in Uttar Pradesh in 2003.

Excelling in her skills, she was selected for the Indian Junior team in 2006, later assuming its captaincy in 2008. Pratima clinched numerous medals, including gold at the 2010 All-India Inter-University Championships.

She triumphed in the inaugural 3×3 FIBA Asia Championship and displayed remarkable resilience in overcoming injuries. Married to Indian cricketer Ishant Sharma, she embodies both mental strength and sporting prowess as a notable female basketball player in India.

9. Prachi Tehlan

Prachi Tehlan, born on October 2, 1993, at 5 feet 9 inches, is one of the notable female basketball players in India with a diverse career path. Apart from basketball, she’s also engaged in netball and acting.

Starting in basketball, Prachi reached the national level while in school and participated in various championships representing Delhi at sub-junior and junior levels.

Despite her prowess in netball, Prachi’s versatility shines as she navigates between sports. She has highlighted the need for increased opportunities and support for Indian female athletes, echoing the sentiments of Prashanti Singh, advocating for a more inclusive landscape in Indian sports.

10. Jeena Palanilkumkalayil Skaria

Standing at 5 feet 8 inches, PS Jeena, also known as Jeena Palanikumkalayil Skaria, was born on January 9, 1994, in Kalpetta, Wayanad, India. Inspired by Geethu Anna Jose, her basketball journey began in the Kannur Sports Division.

She made her mark internationally in 2009 at the U16 FIBA Asian Championships. Excelling in college basketball, she gained prominence in the U18 FIBA Asia Championship for Women in 2012, emerging as the second-leading scorer and highest rebounder.

Notably, she led Kerala to their first Senior Nationals victory in 2017 and captained Team India at the 2018 Asian Games. Jeena’s accomplishments extend to playing abroad and taking on a senior assistant role with the Kerala State Electricity Board, following in the footsteps of her role model.

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