Ritah Imanishimwe has found the going tough. PHOTO/ISMAIL KEZAALA 

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Imanishimwe: We have struggled to close games

What you need to know:

The two-time champions will be disappointed with the manner in which they lost the last two close out games. For a team with the experience JKL have, they are expected to be a better side down the stretch in games but that has not been the case.


In 2019, UCU Lady Canons paid the price for not closing their finals series and lost in Game Seven to hand the JKL Lady Dolphins their second title in two seasons.

This year, it is the defending champions that have handed the university side a fighting chance and the series will be decided in Game Seven Friday night. Henry Malinga’s Lady Dolphins led the series 2-0, then 2-1 and 3-1 but the Lady Canons have won the last two games to tie the series and ensure there is a decider.

The two-time champions will be disappointed with the manner in which they lost the last two close out games. For a team with the experience JKL have, they are expected to be a better side down the stretch in games but that has not been the case.

Game Six looked to be headed JKL’s way when they got out of the blocks early to lead 19-10 at the end of the first quarter. Things got even better in the second when UCU was limited to just nine points, JKL led 33-19 at the half and had the game.

But it was the Lady Canons that opened the third quarter with an 11-4 run with Millicent Otieno leading the comeback. With 6.39 left on the clock in the third frame, the JKL lead had reduced to just six points and UCU were back in business.

Bridget Aber connected from downtown to give Nicholas Natuhereza’s charges their first lead of the game and there was no looking back as the Lady Canons went on to win 69-57 and force a Game Seven.

“We have struggled to keep up with the same pace we start with,” guard Ritah Imanishimwe, who is chasing a sixth straight championship, told Daily Monitor after that Game Six defeat.

“We just haven't given the last two quarters of those games (Game Five and Six) the best of our ability,” she added.

Foul trouble

Game Six was all about foul trouble for the bigs. Hope Akello picked three quick fouls in the first half and was limited to just 17 minutes in the game. JKL were forced to play Thelma Toskin and Taudenciah Oluoch more and the Lady Canons took advantage.

JKL are playing without Stella Oyella, who left the country for professional netball in the UK after Game Four.

Akello fouled out early in the fourth and JKL simply had no answers to Rose Akon down the stretch. Imanishimwe was limited to shooting one of 17 from the field as she recorded just seven points in the game while the most experienced player in the series, Flavia Okecho only got four points.

“Our camp has both experienced and players who are not so exposed and we can't have experienced players all the four quarters of the game,” Imanishimwe noted.

Evelyn Nakiyinji, Brenda Ekone and Oluoch had 15, 12 and 10 points respectively but those were not enough for the defending champions to close out the series.

Otieno took charge for the Lady Canons, shooting eight of 19 from the field to record 20 points. Aber and Akon contributed 15 points each to level the series.

The winner on Friday night will take home a trophy and 5m from lead sponsors Tusker Lite.

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