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ANTSIRABE (Madagascar) – Mali on Thursday clinched the second and last ticket for African nations for next year’s FIBA U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup after ease pasting Angola 67-36 at the Gymnase Couvert D’Antsirabe.
Mali will have a chance to avenge their 2020 final loss to Egypt on Saturday.
Superstar forward Maimouna Haidara led her team with double double (22 points and 18 rebounds), while her teammate Kamite Dabou contributed 14 points. Sira Thienou scored 12 points to help see Mali through to the final.
The West Africans had some difficulty in trying to subdue the Angolans in the first quarter, as the Southern Africans held firm and managed to remain in the encounter at the end of the quarter (18-15).
In the second quarter Mali, began to assert themselves with fast-break points from Mama Cisse and Thienou, who after seeing an open lane drove in past a non-existent Angolan defence to score and build a 22-15 lead.
The Angolans could not repel the Malians for long and as four points from Rokiathou Berthe and a Haidara lay up helped the West Africans stretch their lead (29-16). Forward Kamite Dabou added four more points as the 2018 champions finished the quarter 34-21 up in the second quarter.
Dabou would continue her good scoring form for Mali, in the third quarter, showing her mid-range game as she landed a jump shot at the low post and a turning a her defender to score a reverse lay up to add another two for a 42-22 lead. Mali would score 13 more points to close out the quarter 55-24.
The start of the fourth quarter saw the game end as a contest as, Angola were out of their depth against the Malians, who coasted to a 31 point victory.
Mali coach Sori Diakite felt the match was not as easy as the scoreboard suggested, as he had to make adjustments to ensure that they attained victory over Angola.
“The first five or six minutes were tough. Unfortunately, Angola did not have the weapons to compete against us tonight,” said Diakite whose team have had a comfortable journey to the final.
“Again, it has not been easy. The final, of course will be a different challenge all together. Every time Mali has played Egypt it’s been a tough game. I will not speculate on the outcome on Saturday, but we will play as hard as we can to try and win the title,” Diakite pointed out.