KPA stun REG to storm 2023 Africa Women's Basketball League final

KPA celebrate with the Kenyan flag after qualifying for the finals.[FIBA]

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) on Monday qualified for Africa Women’s Basketball League (AWBL) finals.

KPA stunned a star-studded Rwanda Energy Group (REG) 101-97 in the semifinals to become the first Kenyan team to reach a final of a FIBA Africa clubs competition.

In what was a repeat of the Zone V qualifiers final, KPA picked a win to become the first finalists of the new-look continental championship.

KPA celebrate after qualifying for the finals.[FIBA]

KPA captain Natalie Akinyi Mwangale dropped a double-double of 26 points and 13 assists to lead the dockers to victory. Mwangale scored eight 3-point shots in the game and nine rebounds.

Victoria Reynolds added 26 points as Hilda Indasi, Rita Aluoch and Madina Okot all managed double digits in points with 15,14 and 12 respectively. 

The Kenyan champions, KPA, initially dominated with an 8-2 lead, only to face a resilient response from Rwanda's REG. A six-point run by REG narrowed the gap to 9-8 and later 10-11.

KPA's Natalie Mwangale celebrates after qualifying for the finals.[FIBA]

KPA, led by Mwangale's three-pointer, surged ahead 18-12. However, REG mounted a comeback, going on a ten-point scoring spree to take the lead at 22-18. Undeterred, KPA's Mwangale and Reynolds answered with three treys, reclaiming the lead at 29-24 by the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter saw back-and-forth action, with Destiney Promise Philoxy leading REG's charge, tying the game at 29. Aminata Samassekou's step-back trey contributed to KPA's 38-33 lead. Despite efforts from REG's Isomi, Philoxy, and Kiyobe, KPA secured a 54-47 lead at halftime.

KPA's Natalie Mwangale celebrates after qualifying for the finals.[FIBA]

The third quarter saw REG closing the gap to 79-73, but KPA held on for an 83-74 advantage. In a dramatic final period, REG fought valiantly, trailing 89-84 and then 95-92. KPA's Okot and Kalanga exchanged scores, but Philoxy's trey brought REG within two points at 99-97. Despite missing free throws, KPA secured a narrow 99-98 victory, advancing to the final.

REG’s Philoxy finished with a game-high 41 points and seven assists while Tiffany Mitchell and Clouden finished with 26 and 17 points respectively. 

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