The Lionesses of Kenya booked their place at the FIBA Africa Women’s Championship in Cameroon with a 99-83 win over Egypt in the final of the Zone Five qualifiers on Saturday in Kigali, Rwanda.
Kenya’s Lionesses had advanced to the final by defeating hosts Rwanda 79-58 in the semifinal on Friday and kept an edge over Egyptians, who came back from 25 points down to win 107-106 in the preliminary round.
Forward Victoria Reynolds, who was named the games Most Valuable Player (MVP), said the Lionesses had a shaky start but adjusted as the game progressed.
Assistant coach Mike Opel said “We played well against Egypt, who have been a thorn in our flesh for years. We were persistent and never gave up.”
In the first quarter, Kenya led 29-24 and went into the half with a 50-42 advantage. At the end of the third quarter, the score stood at 77-69, and the game was theirs to lose.
Kenyan backcourt trio – Melissa Akinyi, Natalie Akinyi and Reynolds – were impressive, playing their hearts out in the win.
The frontcourt line of Mercy Wanyama and Felmas Koranga were unbeatable on the paint. Koranga won the Best Power Forward award.
In the preliminary rounds, the Lionesses had lost two games, falling 77-45 to hosts Rwanda to add to the 107-106 heartbreak they suffered against the Egyptians.