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KPA sets up mouth-watering clash with REG in ABWL semi

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KPA Players celebrate their won over Equity Hawks. PHOTO/FIBA
KPA Players celebrate their won over Equity Hawks. PHOTO/FIBA
  • KPA beat rivals Equity Hawks in the quarters
  • They will play Rwanda’s REG in the semis
  • The two sides met in the final of the Africa Zone Five Championship

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) have set up a mouth-watering semi-final duel against Rwanda Energy Group (REG) in the semi-finals of the inaugural edition of the African Women’s Basketball League (AWBL).

KPA qualified for the last four after edging past compatriots Equity Hawks in an all-Kenyan quarter final while REG edged out Cameroon’s University of Douala in the other group match.

The match between KPA and REG will be a repeat of the Africa Zone Five Championship last month where the Kenyan champions won with an 87-53 score.

But it is expected to be a tighter affair this time round, with REG having recruited heavily, including the acquisition of two WNBA players with Nia Clouden being signed from the LA Sparks and Tiffany Mitchell from the Minnesota Lynx.

KPA will look to continue with their impressive run so far in the competition, their only defeat coming at the hands of hosts Alexandria Sporting in their last group match.

Against Equity in the semis, the dockers were totally dominant, with Madina Okot putting up a healthy return of 31 points and 17 rebounds in their 81-66 victory.

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) have set up REG duel

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) have set up

Equity’s Grace Malu goes for a lay up against KPA’s Belinda Okoth. PHOTO/FIBA

“It was a good game and we had a good second quarter. The energy, teamwork and togetherness are the secrets to such good runs and whenever my players get themselves in a hole, they know how to get back and that has been crucial,” said KPA coach Anthony Ojukwu after the match.

KPA were dominant, ending the first quarter 14-7 up. In the second half, a 12-0 scoring run helped them go to the halftime break on a 21-point lead, scores at 44-23.

Equity trailed by 25 in the first five minutes of the third quarter. However, they managed to bounce back as they went on a 20-point scoring run in the last five minutes of the quarter, Akinyi scoring half while restricting KPA to 5 to cut their deficit to 10 at 61-51 ahead of the final period.

The bankers fed off their third-quarter good run, putting up four in the opening two minutes for 61-53 but three costly turnovers gave KPA the chance to pull away again with some quick breaks for a 72-57 lead with five minutes on the clock as they went on to win.

“It was a really tough game just like derbies usually are because these two sides know each other well. But we managed to look at our mistakes from the last game against Sporting and worked on them and definitely that made us a better team on the floor,” said KPA’s shooting guard Hilda Indasi after the game.

Three Equity players with double digit scores 

Betty Kananu of Equity Hawks in action against Aminata Ssemasekou of KPA. PHOTO/NBA

Betty Kananu of Equity Hawks in action against Aminata Ssemasekou of KPA. PHOTO/FIBA

Three Equity players; Debbie Obunga (10), Betty Kananu (12) and Christine Akinyi (15) also chalked double digit scores, but it wasn’t enough to power them through.

Meanwhile, REG progressed to the last four after edging out University de Douala 85-54 in a one-sided duel.

Tiffany (24), Destiney Promise Philoxy (17) and Nia (17) combined for 58 of REG’s 85 points.

Cynthia Williams Amayaba, the only Universite de Douala player to score in double digits, finished with 12 points off the bench.

The game was so unbalanced that REG led by as many 40 points at some point, prompting Mukaneza to rest her starting line-up for long minutes, maybe, thinking about their semis match-up against a familiar foe.

In the other semi-final, hosts and favourites Alexandria Sporting will take on Inter Clube of Angola, another match set to light up the arena.

ASC were in a class of their own as they completely whitewashed Cameroonian side Overdose Up Station, beating them 105-55.

Inter Clube meanwhile beat Nigeria’s Customs 89-65 to make the semis.

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