Vijana Queens road to quarters at FIBA qualifiers

RWANDA: VIJANA Queens, the Tanzanian champions, advanced to the quarterfinal playoffs of the ongoing FIBA Africa Women’s Basketball League (AWBL) Zone Five qualifiers held at the LDK Gymnasium Court, Kigali, Rwanda, despite a tough start in the group stage matches.

The Vijana Queens, who were in Group A with APR, Kenyan Equity Bank Hawks and Gladiators from Burundi, failed to win any of their group-stage matches.

However, their impressive performance against hosts APR in the Tuesday match assured them a spot in the quarterfinals. In the closely contested match, APR won 67-57 after Vijana Queens put up a good fight.

While APR took a 18-17 lead in the first quarter, the Tanzanian side fought back to lead by a single point (31-30) at halftime. APR won the third quarter 15-13 to lead 45-44 heading into the final quarter.

In the end, a 22-13 scoreline in APR’s favour gave them the win and sent the Tanzanian champions packing.

Noela Uwandameno led Vijana Queens’ charge with a game-high 23 points, five assists and four rebounds, while Tumaini Ndossi dropped a double-double with 20 points and 16 rebounds. Despite their impressive performance, it was not enough to secure a win.

In their last group stage match against Gladiators on Wednesday, Vijana Queens lost 79-54, making it tough for them to advance to the quarterfinals.

Gladiators led all quarters except one, with scorelines of 19-08, 21-12, 20-25, and 18-09, eventually winning by 24 points.

In the quarterfinals, Vijana Queens’ country-mates JKT Stars were also defeated in all their group matches and could not advance.

Eight teams, including Nile Legends, Equity Bank Hawks, JKL Lady Dolphins, APR, Gladiators and REG, made it to the quarterfinals. The semifinals were held on Thursday and the finals are scheduled for tomorrow.

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