Hajara Najjuko and Ruth Letaru help Rose Akon get back on her feet | Credit: Don Mugabi
  • KIU Rangers 67-68 UCU Lady Canons (OT)

UCU Lady Canons overcame a 22-point deficit to edge KIU Rangers 68-67 in Overtime on Wednesday night at Lugogo Indoor Stadium.

Lady Canons (4-1) who started the game poorly played a swarming defense in the second and third quarters, limiting Rangers (4-1) to a combined 17 points.

KIU Rangers put on an offensive clinic in the opening quarter with some good ball and player movement in the half-court.

Ines Kanyamunza and Peruth Nyamwenge made a few canny baseline cuts to get open for three-pointers as the Kasanga-based side got off to a hot start.

Sharon Kirabo often found the lane open to power through to the basket and Rangers had a commanding 30-8 lead at the end of the ten minutes.

The second quarter was a bit different. While the Rangers had some wide open 3-point shots throughout the period, they did not fall and the Lady Canons improved their defense too. Rose Akon cleaned the glass as Bridget Aber locked the lane, and at the other end, the Lady Canons through Hajara Najjuko were slowly but surely chipping away to a single-digit deficit.

At the long break, the Lady Canons were down by just 8 points (36-28). It was game on in the second half.

The third quarter was a seesaw to start but Lady Canons’ defense remained tenacious and on the offensive end, Aber (7 points & 10 rebounds) had valuable production. Mayimuna Nabbosa’s lay-up at the horn meant UCU trailed by just 3 points (47-44) going into the fourth quarter.

Maimuna Nabbosa tied the game at 48 early in the fourth quarter and the comeback was complete for the former champions.

Akon put Lady Canons into the lead with a jumper that was followed by another from Tracy Namugosa forcing Roger Sserunyigo to call for a time out with just under seven minutes to play.

On return, the Rangers turned over and Nabayunga connected from three-point range and the game was by all accounts in UCU’s control.

However, the Lady Canons who led by as many as 10 points in the fourth quarter took the foot off the pedal in the final minutes.

Leading by 3 points (63-60) with 5 seconds to play, Nick Natuhereza called for a timeout and on return, Najjuko violated the 5 seconds on the inbound turning over possession. Nyamwenge quickly inbounded to Kirabo who connected from the top of the mountain to force overtime.

Both sides were out od legs in the extra period and Akon’s 3-pointer in response to Kanyamuza’s jumper turned out to be the decisive moment as Rangers missed 3 shots that could have potentially won the game.

Akon finished with 19 points and a whopping 26 rebounds, Najjuko had 12 points while Namugosa contributed 8 points.

Kirabo scored game-high 20 points for KIU in a losing effort while Nyamwenge, Kanyamunza, and Patricia Nakiru contributed 14, 10, and 10 points respectively.

Next Up

Both teams return to action on Sunday, April 10. UCU Lady Canons take on Magic Stormer while KIU Rangers will be up against Miracle Ravens in the first game of the day.

Franklin Kaweru is the Editor in Chief of Kawowo Sports. He is an ardent basketball enthusiast.

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