Afrobasket: Gazelles Oust DR Congo To Reach First Ever Quarterfinals

18-year old Lydia Babirye goes for a lay-up against DR Congo. (FUBA photo)

Tuesday, August 1
•Uganda 78-62 DR Congo

Uganda Women’s National basketball team, the Gazelles, have for the first time qualified for the quarterfinals of the Women Afrobasket.

The Gazelles eliminated DR Congo on Tuesday thanks to a 78-62 win in a qualification encounter at the magnificent Kigali Arena.

And the win sets up a quarterfinal tie on Wednesday with hosts Rwanda who qualified direct to this stage after topping their group.

After a 30-30 draw at halftime, the Gazelles staged a strong second half which they won 48-32 to seal a deserved win.

Jane Asinde who had just one point in the entire first half, finished the game with 18.

Jannon Otto added 18 points as well while Claire Lamunu contributed a double double of 12 points and 14 rebounds.

Melissa Akullu scored 10 points and 9 rebounds, Lydia Babirye was once again admirable with 11 assists while Hope Akello also came out big with 11 rebounds.

The victory extends Gazelles’ impressive run after the side beat 11-time winners Senegal earlier in the groups.

And Albert Antuna’s charges are on the brink of an incredible run for a side that is not only making a return since 2015, but also playing at the tournament for the third time in history.

On their debut in 1998, Uganda lost all their group games, and later finished 10th out of 12 teams in 2015.

DR Congo’s wheels fall off

DR Congo had matched Uganda pound for pound and always answered back everytime the Gazelles tried to establish a sizeable gap.

But the two-time Afrobasket winners failed to play with the same energy in the second half when the Gazelles turned on the heat.

The Gazelles were 53-45 at the end of the third and opened the last quarter with an 8-0 run.

DR Congo were scoreless in the opening chaotic 3 minutes of the last quarter, in a spell they shot 0-for-6.

And when Uganda opened up a 23-point cushion midway, there was always going to be one winner.

DR Congo produced kicks of a dying horse when Rita Imanishimwe and Evelyn Nakiyinji where brought on for their debut, but it was little too late for the side to make a comeback.

Gracia Nguz had 15 points, with 9 coming off the free throw while Ketia Mbulu (13) was the other DR Congo player to reach double digits.

Uganda out-rebounded DR Congo 64-60 in an area where they thought many thought they could struggle against a more physical and bigger side.



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