Sports

So close, yet far! KPA fall short in Africa Women’s Basketball League final


ALEXANDRIA, Egypt, Dec 19 – For the second time in a row, Alexandria Sporting Club (ASC) are at the top of Africa.

The Egyptian champion were crowned champions in the inaugural Africa Women’s Basketball League (AWBL) held on their turf.

The nine-day competition had brought together 10 teams doing battle for the new-look AWBL that was preceded by the Africa Champions Cup for Women that ASC won last year to lift their first-ever African club title.

Playing Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) in the final, the FIBA Africa Zone Five derby, which was a repeat of their Group A clash on the final Group Phase match (that ended 102-77), saw the hosts dominate for 103-59 as Antony Ojukwu’s KPA settled for silver on their first time of reaching the Last Four in a continental competition.

Natalie Mwangale and Victoria Reynolds gave KPA a 5-0 lead early on but Fatou Diagne and Cierra Dillard made it a one-point game off a layup and from the free-throw line.  Ojukwu’s charges still led 11-8 halfway through the quarter.

Dillard tied the score at 13 before skipper Hagar Amer gave ASC the lead for the first time with back-to-back layups that forced the Kenyans into a timeout.

A costly turnover off the break gave ASC a six-point advantage, Amer extending the lead to 22-15 ahead of the second quarter.

Three turnovers for KPA gave three quick points in the opening minute of the second period for a 26-19 lead as the hosts continued their onslaught to lead 35-24 four minutes in. 

Destiny Pitts rose above her marker from behind the arc to knock down a three-pointer that extended Sporting’s lead to 14, Okot pulling two back from the line for 38-26. 

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With three minutes on the clock, KPA were down 19 at 47-28 as they struggled with the host team’s transition and could only manage four more points for 58-32 heading to the locker rooms. 

Hagar and Dillard had combined for the Mohamed Adelrahman-coached side’s 35, each scoring two treys with the latter missing once on the line to go one under her skipper’s tally.

The two sides matched their strengths on the paint but KPA got punished for their lacklustre ball handling that saw them turn the ball over 16 times, 8 in each quarter with ASC scoring 13 off their mistakes.

ASC scored five off the locker rooms to make it a 30-point game at 63-33, KPA allowing three treys in the first half of the third to trail by 36 in a 76-40 scoreline.

A 29-17 performance at the end of the third and 16-10 on the final period gave ASC the win for their second ever continental title. 

Skipper Hagar led the scoring for her side with 32 as Dillard added 17 in the win. 

-By FIBA-

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