Uganda got off to a winning start in the 2019 AfroBasket Women Zone 5 Qualifiers.
The Gazelles, as they are known, beat Rwanda, 62-53, on Wednesday evening at Lugogo Indoor Stadium.
Rwanda got on board first but the Gazelles scored nine unanswered points forcing visitors into a timeout after which they made a layup but Uganda ran out with a 23-11 lead at the end of the quarter.
A 10-0 run to start the second quarter from Rwanda erased the deficit, forcing Uganda into a time out with 6:42 to play. On return, Ritah Imanishimwe missed from deep and picked her second foul to send Charlotte Umugwaneza to the line and she hit the first of the trows to bring Rwanda to within a point (22-23).
Rwanda played solid defence throughout the quarter limiting the Gazelles to just Claire Lamunu’s free throw in seven minutes, and five points overall.
The strong run during the frame saw Rwanda claim the lead heading to halftime, momentarily silencing the full to capacity Arena.
It was back and forth in the third quarter but Gazelles played better defence, maning-up Rwanda and took the lead again through a team effort but had no answers for Tierra Henderson who poured in 24 points in the three quarters, and settled for game-high 28 points.
Zainah Lokwameri (11 points) opened the fourth quarter with back to back corner 3s to take Uganda’s lead to double figures and the Gazelles never looked back.
Claire Lamunu tallied team-high 14 points and picked 9 rebounds while Urysla Cotton and Brenda Ekon contributed 9 points apiece. Sarah Ageno picked 10 rebounds to go with 6 points.
Nichole Urwibutso (16 points) was the only other Rwanda player to score in double figures.
The two sides will be in action on Day 2 (Thursday, June 27) with Rwanda taking on Kenya at 1pm in the first game of the day while the Gazelles will battle Egypt in the 5 O’Clock tip-off.