#FIBAU18Africa

Mali regain FIBA U18 Women’s African Championship title with a masterclass showcase

Temps de lecture : 3 mn 🕗

ANTSIRABE (Madagascar) Mali reclaimed their title, after showing their class in their 86-54 blowout victory over defending champions Egypt in the final of the 2022 FIBA U18 Women’s African Championship on Saturday at the Gymnase Couvert D’Anstirabe in Madagascar.

Mali captain, Maimouna Haidara, who no doubt was the best player in the final and tournament, led her with 22 points and 12 rebounds.

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Haidara was joined in scoring in double figures by Fatoumata Sanou (18), Kamite Dabou and Mama Cisse both contributing 14 points in Mali’s march to victory.

The Egyptians were led in scoring by star player Jana Elalfy’s double-double (19 points and 12 rebounds). Jana Sallman would be the only other Egyptian to score in double figures as she ended the game with 14 points.

Egypt captain Tamara Ibrahim opened the scoring with a three-pointer in the first minute, while Elalfy landed four points, using good footwork to get the best of her rival Haidara, who had opened the scoring for Mali.

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Two minutes into the game Egypt were 5-2 up, but the Malians would finish the quarter strong as they took advantage of Egyptian lapses in  concentration in offence and defence to take 17-11 lead with four minutes left.

Mali in the end led the opening quarter 23-15 with forward Haidara scoring eight points, while point guard Sanou scored six points. Elalfy, scored six points for Egypt.

Both teams battled to find buckets two minutes into the quarter, with Egypt posting two points, while Mali posted one point from a Haidara free throw.

An Elalfy three-pointer at the top of the three point arc helped the North Africans reduce the score by four (24-20),  but responded with two points from a fast break.

Mali would score two more points from fast-break with Mariam Sarr and Sanou stretching Mali’s lead (30-20) in a six  point scoring run. Mali, the 2018 champions, seemed to have unsettled Egypt in the second quarter.

The North Africans struggled to get their offence going as Mali capitalised on turnovers in an eight-point scoring run.

The West Africans would close out the quarter and second-half 38-24, with  lightning quick guard Sanou finishing with 12 points for Mali.

Early in the third  quarter Sallman and Elalfy scored the opening points to try and settle thee Egyptians, but Bintou Drame would answer back a with a three pointer  for the Malians, as they led game 41-28.

Mostafa Hadhood’s team continued to battle with their attacking scheme, as the Malians disrupted Egypt’s scoring momentum.

The Malians would break away in the third quarter as they score 22 more points to the 11 of Egypt, as the most successful team in the competition finished 63-37 in the lead.

Sori Diakite’s team would put the finishing touches in the fourth quarter, with Haidara adding six points and forward Dabou adding five as they marched to a 32 point victory and gained vengeance for their defeat in Cairo, Egypt two years ago.

Winning coach Diakite, pointed out that the journey back to winning an eight title was a difficult a one.

Diakite said: “I wasn’t at the last competition, I don’t know what happened there. Our team was mentally ready for this challenge. I knew they [Egypt] could not stop us individually and they would struggle against against our zone defence. We have tried this strategy in our last game and it worked really well.”

Looking ahead of next year’s U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup, Diakite added: “Our next goal is to to reach the final in the World Cup.”

“We worked hard to get here, we know Egypt beat us in 2020, so we had to prepare this group of players well. For the last eight months we worked tirelessly to get to this moment and reclaim the title,” said Diakite whose team along with Egypt, by virtue of making this final booked their tickets to the FIBA U19 World Cup next year in Spain.

ANGOLA CLINCH THIRD PLACE

Angola finished the tournament in a respectable third place after overcoming Madagascar 53-37.  The Southern Africans were lead in scoring by Isabel Joao (14) and Angelina Joao (10)  to cap off the game.


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