Results | Saturday, February 18
- Egypt 82-57 Kenya
- Uganda 78-70 Rwanda
Fixtures | Sunday, February 19
- 3rd Place: Kenya vs. South Sudan – 3:00 pm
- Final: Egypt vs. Uganda – 6:00 pm
By the time the Gazelles walked onto the floor of Lugogo Indoor Stadium on Saturday, they had already secured a spot in the final of the Zone V Qualifiers for the FIBA Women’s AfroBasket 2023.
Egypt’s 82-57 win over Kenya in the first game of the day meant Uganda would finish second at the end of the group phase of games.
Playing against a side using the tournament to prepare their players means a team will be against a lot of experimentation from their opponents.
Uganda eased to a 23-9 first quarter but the rest of the game was a contest as Rwanda never folded despite falling behind by as many as 18 points early in the second quarter.
In fact, with just under 3 minutes to play in the second quarter, they came as close as 6 points (34-28) when Marie Imanizabayo knocked down a 3-pointer. However, Brenda Ekone scored 5 unanswered points to restore Uganda’s double-digit lead that Rwanda would cut down to 8 points (41-33) going into the halftime break.
Point guard Rosine Micomyiza opened the third quarter from 3-point territory and Rwanda’s deficit was down to 5 points but the Gazelles put on a run and led by as many as 14 points before Imanizabayo drained a pair of late triples to cut the deficit back to a single digit (58-50) going into the final quarter.
Rwanda erased the deficit two minutes into the fourth quarter with some hot shooting beyond the arc and tied the game at 61 before Assouma Uwizeye hooked them into a three-point lead (64-61) with a 3-point play.
It was a seesaw until the final three minutes when Ekone made a pair of coast-to-coast lay-ups to create separation. Jannon Otto would add a pair of clutch free throws to ease the tension.
Ekone finished with a game-high 22 points to go with 8 rebounds. Otto who played all forty minutes of the game matched the game-high 22 and pulled down 13 rebounds to go with 4 assists and 3 steals.
Hope Akello (15 points, 11 rebounds) also had a double-double for the Gazelles. The forward also handed out assists and swiped 5 steals.
Uwizeye scored team-high 19 points for Rwanda and picked 11 rebounds. Odile Tetero contributed 17 points, Imanizabayo chipped in with 15 points all from beyond the arc and Diamond Richardson had 13 points.