Afrobasket: Gazelles Clinch Best Ever Finish

Friday, August 4
•Uganda 85-44 Guinea

Uganda Women’s National Basketball team, the Gazelles, have recorded their best ever placement at the FIBA Women’s Basketball tournament.

The Gazelles eased past Guinea 85-44 in a classification game at the Kigali Arena in Rwanda on Friday.

And the team ends the championship in seventh place, their most successful campaign on their third attempt.

In 1997 Afrobasket in Kenya, Uganda lost all their four games terribly on their debut – Kenya (117-36), Mali (140-31), Senegal (150-45) and Cameroon (122-57) to finish 9th.

In 2015, Uganda beat South Africa 55-43 in their only group win before overcoming Algeria 75-73 in the classification to finish 10th.

Jannon Otto scored a game high 22 points while Jane Asinde, making a return since an injury in painful Rwanda loss, added 15 points.

Melissa Akullu, Rita Imanishimwe and Hope Akello added 9 points each in commanding display.

Every player on the Ugandan roster, outside Evelyn Nakiyinji, registered her name in the score-sheet column.

The tournament will be well remembered, mostly for that big win over 11-time winners Senegal in their second group game after losing to Mali in the opener.

Uganda went on to beat DR Congo 78-62 in the playoff game to storm their first ever quarterfinal.

Despite leading 22-11 against Rwanda in the First quarter, the Gazelles collapsed after Jane Asinde injury to lose 61-66.

The 66-88 defeat against Mozambique on Friday left the Gazelles fighting in 7-8th game but a return to winning ways in solid fashion against Guinea will see the Gazelles leave Kigali with heads high.

Gazelles Looks To the Future

After a storied performance in Kigali, the Gazelles are beaming with confidence and there is strong belief that this team can rule the continent.

This, was by far the best assembled squad by Uganda at Afrobasket in terms of quality.

And achieving such a position with a couple of newcomers, says a lot.

Only Flavia ‘Flirsh’ Oketcho, on this 2023 roster, was part of the Gazelles team in Yaounde in 2015.

And alongside Claire Lamunu, they are the only two players that may not make the roster for the 2025 Afrobasket campaign.

Jannon Otto is 26 while the local contingent of Rita Imanishimwe, Brenda Ekon, Evelyn Nakiyinji and Hope Akello are just slightly above 25.

Lydia Babirye is 18, Jane Asinde, Priscilla Abbey, Maria Najjuma, Melissa Akullu are all still around on this team for the next eight years or so.

Adding buzzing Youngsters in the NBL like Diana Letaru (heading to the United States), Rose Amaniyo, Priscilla Aber and Shilla Lamunu among others, several other players and not to mention promising players on the Junior Gazelles squad that finished sixth at U16 Africa Championship in Tunisia, Uganda’s future looks bright to say the least.



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