The winners’ determination was all that made the difference as they fought gallantly from the start and led throughout the four quarters to eventually silence their opponents, who were widely expected to come out victors.
Imelda David had 22 points to successfully lead Vijana Queens’ onslaught as team mates, Johari Kaseko (11 points) and Tukusubira David (seven points) also found their way into the score sheet to hand their side the sweet win.
The youthful Vijana Queens expressed their desire to take control of the match by garnering 18-12 lead in the first quarter prior to putting more pressure on Jeshi Stars in the second quarter to ultimately take a 36-28 lead at the breather. Jeshi Stars, who relied much on their veterans, Annomisiata Anthony, Lucy Augustine and Joyce Midodi, were simply below par and they, therefore, were forced to do catch up for most of the first two quarters.
Jeshi Stars’ defensive weakness was there for all to see and, with the team conceding plenty of turnovers particularly in the second quarter, Vijana Queens capitalized on the blunders to stay on top of things and the latter were comfortably leading 32-16 with three minutes remaining in the quarter.
Imelda and Johari continued to punish Jeshi Stars’ defence whenever the duo pushed forward and the Vijana guards’ swift passing and precision in front of Jeshi Stars’ hoop proved too much for the latter’s towering centre, Eva Peter, who struggled to contain the duo. Jeshi Stars had to bank on the experience of playmaker, Lucy, to attempt reducing the margin in the second quarter and the speedy player somewhat lived up to billing when she managed to outfox Vijana defence and score crucial points.
Jeshi’s Joyce, whose resilience also helped her side slowly bounce back, won two free throws with just two second remaining in the second quarter and she calmly slotted them in to bring her team to eight points adrift of Vijana Queens, who eventually took 36-28 lead at the breather.
Jeshi Stars slightly benefited from a couple of free throws they won early in the third quarter after their opponents carelessly committed fouls and the former managed to continue reducing the margin reviving hopes of changing the course of the game. Vijana Queens’ zone marking, though, proved to be effective for the better part of the third quarter as the approach gave Jeshi Stars little chance to maneuvre their tricks.
Vijana Queens, who enjoyed plenty of support from players of the men’s side, Vijana "City Bulls", continued to pounce on their opponents at the slightest chance and built an 11-point margin when they led 42-31 with three minutes to go in the third quarter.
Jeshi Stars stepped up their game in the fourth quarter and levelled 44-44 just two minutes into the quarter and the game turned into a tightly contested affair for the next five minutes before Vijana Queens wrestled control during the closing stages. Lucy was Jeshi’s top scorer with 21 points, Veronica Patrick had 19 points as Joyce added nine points and, despite the defeat, the team has also progressed to the semi-finals.
Jeshi Stars will play Tanga United in the women’s first semi-final at the same venue this morning while Vijana Queens are expected to confront Don Bosco Lady Lionesses in the second semi-final later in the evening.