KENYA SEND UGANDA HOME: Women’s basketball team inches closer to Africa tourney

Betty Kananu (left) of KPA has all her ways blocked by Equity Bank players in a Kenya Basketball Federation ladies National Basketball League championship at the KPA Makande GYM, October 30, 2016. KPA won 65-45. [PHOTO BY GIDEON MAUNDU/STANDARD.

When Kenya's Vilma Achieng sunk the last basket with only seconds left, one could not miss the frustration in their opponents Uganda as the clock ticked fast.

Time had come for the East Africans to bid goodbye to the ongoing Fiba Africa Zone V Basketball Championships in Cairo, Egypt. It was their second successive loss. They lost 85-56 to Egypt in their opening match on Sunday.

The Ugandans were not at their best, no doubt. Their form was wanting, so was their rate of conversion. It was a tough night. Hard luck. Even the 70-41 final score told it all.

The Ugandans needed to do more, but they did not. But as the Ugandans were cursing their gods for failing them, the Kenyan girls were over the moon following the deserved victory.

Ironically, it was Uganda, who pressed Kenyan early on in the match. It was a see-saw affair. To close to call. But after finding their footing, they pinned their rivals and defending champions 16-13 in the opening quarter.

But the Ugandans regrouped in the second quarter, thanks to the help Sylvia Nakazibwe and Muhaimina Namuwaya. They won 21-17 and led 34-33 at halftime.

Kenya's head coach David Maina knew how dangerous Uganda were and acted fast. His charges also needed to change tack and he made them know as much.

“I took advantage of the break to correct some of the obvious mistakes the ladies were making on the court,”said Maina.

True to his words, Kenya resumed the third quarter a rejuvenated side. They won the third quarter 16-3, before putting matter beyond Uganda's reach with a 21-4 victory in the fourth.

Kenya also produced a game high through Betty Kananu, who sunk 14 points, while Purity Adhiambo and Vilma Achieng added 12 each.

Uganda's greatest contributors were Rita Imanishimwe with 10 points and Flavia Oketch with six.

“It is my pleasure to have won my first game.The ladies followed my halftime instructions, which made things somewhat easy,” Maina said.

Maina said he is confident of bagging one of the two available slots for the continental championships to be held in Brazzaville, Congo between August 19-30.

Kenya was expected to take on hosts Egypt at 6pm last evening, before finishing the round-robin encounter with Somalia tonight.

Kenyan men, who lost 75-60 to Rwanda in their opening match on Monday evening, were scheduled to tackle South Sudan last night from 8pm.

The Kenyan men will also tackle Egypt today at 10:15pm.

 

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