Jaannon Otto posts up Raneem Elgedawy | Credit: John Batanudde

Results | Wednesday, February 15

  • Rwanda 40-54 South Sudan
  • Egypt 85-86 Uganda

Fixtures | Thursday, February 16

  • Kenya vs. Rwanda – 5:00 pm
  • Uganda vs. South Sudan – 8:00 pm

After Uganda’s defeat to Kenya in their opening game of the Women’s AfroBasket Qualifiers, Gaazelles’ head coach Alberto Antuna said he wanted his team to play with confidence and defend better for the rest of the tournament.

On Wednesday night, the Gazelles responded to the coach’s call and delivered an 86-85 win over Egypt thanks to two crucial defensive stops from skipper Flavia Oketcho and player of the game Jannon Otto.

In a must-win game against pre-tournament favourites, the Gazelles fell behind by 10 points late in the opening quarter but the confidence with which they played was apparent.

Soraya Deghady shone in the opening quarter as Uganda’s 2-3 zone and anaemic transition defence gave her lots of space to launch from three-point distance, connecting on three shots from deep.

However, Uganda switched to a 3-2 zone in the second quarter and dried up Egypt’s offense. At the other end, Otto was heating up as Hope Akello found her range just outside the stripe and Brenda Ekone attacked the hole. Gazelles erupted for 28 points and held Egypt to 10, going into the locker rooms for the halftime break with a 12-point (50-38) advantage.

Egypt found quick fixes early in the third quarter and came to within 3 points (52-55) on Raneem Elgedawy’s 3-pointer but the Gazelles whose confidence and determination was sky-high responded well and closed the quarter. leading by double-digits (72-61).

While the Gazelles maintained the double-digit lead early in the fourth quarter, the team was careless with the ball. Otto turned over twice at the top with Soraya getting open-court lay-ups that were followed by a midrange jumper from Elgedawy and the lead was down to 6 points (78-72) forcing Uganda into a time-out.

After the time out, Akello hit a midrange jumper as the game turned a little frenetic as Egypt came to within a point before two game-winning defensive plays in the final minute.

Otto finished with game-high 27 points to go with 14 rebounds, Akello added 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Brenda Ekone contributed 13 points. Oketcho and Maria Najjuma contributed 10 points a piece.

Raneem Elgedawy led Egypt’s losing effort with 22 points and 14 rebounds, Nadin Sayed and Soraya chipped in with 17 points apiece while  Meral Abdelgawad had 12 points and 11 rebounds.

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

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