Temps de lecture : 4 mn 🕗
Kigali (RWANDA) – Uganda pulled off the biggest upset of the FIBA 2023 Women's AfroBasket so far, defeating Senegal 85-83.
In a match that had fans on the edge of their seats from the tip-off, the Ugandans withstood Senegal's repeated attacks to close out the game by a margin of just two points.
Defeated on the opening day by Mali, the Gazelles have now redeemed themselves and shown that they will be a force to be reckoned with in Group C, while Senegal must make amends for their defeat.
TURNING POINT: The BK Arena held its breath throughout the match. But when the clock counted down to the last minute, everyone – fans and journalists alike – stopped breathing, because that's when the intensity of the match reached its peak.
The Ugandan and Senegalese players went at each other blow for blow, notably with Aya Traore trying to get the Lionesses back on track with her long-range and mid-range shots.
But buoyed by a crowd that never stopped believing in a win for their side, the Ugandans played intelligently, provoking fouls and scoring the points that mattered most at this stage of the match.
Uganda out-scored Senegal 5-2 inn the last minute of the game to cause the biggest surprise in the tournament so far.
STATS DON'T LIE: Uganda mastered one of the most important aspects of the game: rebounding. In total, they took 59, 19 better than their opponents. In fact, Uganda defended their side to the hilt, with 39 defensive rebounds. The figures also reflect a better presence in the opponent's half, with 20 offensive rebounds.
However, Senegal made better use of ball losses. Ironically, while they managed to score 28 points on Ugandan turnovers, they let victory slip through their fingers on two turnovers too.
Senegal also lost the game on missed free throws. While the East Africans scored 18 times from the free-throw line, the Lionesses only managed 16 of the 25 points they were awarded.
Jannon Otto (centre) contributed 21 points to Uganda's winning cause
HEROES: A few names come to mind if you look hard enough. First, Lydia Babirye, who scored 11 points. But she will go down in history as the one who gave Uganda the victory, firstly by scoring the two points that put the Gazelles ahead with just seconds remaining, and then by scoring the final point from a free-throw.
Jannon Otto's 21 points and Jane Asinde's 20 cannot be overlooked.
On the Senegalese side, Aya Traore finished with 29 points. Cierra Dillard also finished with a double-digit score (21 points), far from sufficient, however.
BOTTOM LINE: This unexpected defeat puts Senegal in a difficult situation as they now need to beat Mali to stay in the race for direct qualification to the Quarter-Finals.
The winner of each group qualifies directly to the Quarter-Finals while the teams that finish second and third will go through the qualification round to the Last Eight, that is why Uganda's win over Senegal was remarkable as it leaves all Group C team in the hunt for the top spot of the pool.
THEY SAID: “We didn't get into the game. In the first quarter, we didn't defend the way we wanted to, and the Ugandans were a little too comfortable with that. We started to have more energy on defense, but it was only fair. We even managed to equalize. But at the end, we lost two balls in quick succession. But that's the game. We'd been expecting this kind of resistance. We watched them play against Mali. That's exactly what we need to prepare ourselves for. It's another day, another match. We need to forget what happened and be more effective.” Aya Traore, Senegal captain.
“The coach told us to compete. Senegal is a good team. But there are rules and we needed to follow them. So we stayed disciplined and that is the outcome today. We respected them but we didn't fear them. You know, it was a very competitive game, and we kept on playing till the last minute. But when I went for that last contest, I knew it was win. We're ready for any team and we're going to be prepared for any team that come our way.” Jane Asinde, Ouganda shooting guard.