Uganda falls to Kenya, Egypt up next

Forward Hope Akello had the effort but not the tools to beat Kenya. PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE 

What you need to know:

Uganda’s late charge was not helped when Otto limped off with three minutes to play.

In a tournament like the Fiba Women’s Zone V Afrobasket Qualifiers, teams require a very short memory.

There isn't a lot of time to celebrate or mourn a result.

And the Uganda Gazelles must forget about last night’s 61-53 loss to rivals Kenya and focus on today’s clash with Egypt.

Head coach Alberto Antuna’s charges got off to a false start and cannot afford another loss.

An underwhelming debut for American based Maria Najjuma headlined Uganda’s first outing.

Jannon Otto led the Gazelles’ offence with 11 points while Hope Akello and Brenda Ekone added 10 each.

Egypt defeated South Sudan 83-68 in the opening game.

Kenya suffocated Uganda’s offense early in the game led 15-07 to force Uganda into a timeout with 2.23 left on the clock in the first quarter.

Jannon Otto, who only arrived yesterday, struggled to get going, shooting zero for five in the first quarter.

Kenya led 16-07 and the Gazelles had work to do to recover and stay in the game.

Otto’s first bucket came with 7.32 minutes left on the clock in the second quarter. Her shot selection was right from the word go but the ball just couldn’t go through the net.

Mercy Wanyama and Madina Okot were dominant in the paint and made it hard for a much smaller Uganda line-up.

To start the third quarter, Kenya continued to dominate the inside but Uganda stepped up defensively.

Ritah Imanishimwe found rhythm and hit a three followed by another three free throws for Uganda to lead 40-39 midway through the quarter.

The Lionesses led 43-42 going into the last ten minutes of the game. 

Two back-to-back threes from Melissa Otieno gave Kenya a 51-44 lead midway through the fourth frame and there was no coming back for the Gazelles.

Uganda’s late charge was not helped when Otto limped off with three minutes to play.

Mercy Wanyama and Christine Akinyi led Kenya with 15 and 14 points respectively.

Tough from the start

At the tournament technical meeting held Monday evening at Onomo Hotel, Uganda’s assistant coach Ali Mavita had selected Rwanda as the country of choice the Gazelles wanted to start the tournament with.

In the end, there was discomfort in the room as other countries felt this would give the hosts an early advantage considering Rwanda have already qualified for AfroBasket as hosts and have nothing much to fight for.

While hosts have the opportunity to select their first opponent, it was revealed by Fiba Africa officials that already-qualified Rwanda would have to rest on Day One.

Uganda’s next choice was Kenya and that set up the perfect start to the qualifiers.

The two neighbours lit up the Lugogo Indoor Stadium but it is yhe defending champions who got off to a winning start.


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