Senegal was able to win its record 11th tournament at the 2015 Women’s AfroBasket. The 12 team tournament was divided into two groups of six teams where the top four teams advance to the quarterfinals. The winner of the tournament qualified to the Olympics. Women’s AfroBasket was held in Yaounde, Cameroon from September 24th to October 3rd 2015.
One of the biggest matches in Group A happened early between Cameroon and Mali; two favoured teams. In a very defensive game with multiple lead changes it was Cameroon that was able to hold on at the end to win by a slim 44-43. Cameroon was able to use its strong fourth quarter performance to remain undefeated in the group. Despite being troubled by Gabon and Mozambique Mali was able to defeat both teams 71-63 and 57-52 respectively to finish second in the group.
Group B was a bit more hectic. Firstly Angola was able to break Senegal in a very defensive match in the fourth quarter to defeat them 50-46. Angola then narrowly stayed ahead of Nigeria to win 57-51, but their top placement of the group was placed in jeopardy as Egypt held them off to win by the slim margin of 53-52. However a loss 84-72 loss to Senegal along with a previous loss to Nigeria ultimately placed Egypt fourth in the group while Angola advanced as the top team. A strong second quarter by Nigeria ended up being all that was needed to defeat Senegal 75-64 as Nigeria went on to finish in second.
Group winners Angola and Cameroon were able to win their quarterfinal matches easily by defeating Gabon and Egypt 57-44 and 76-54 respectively. The match between Senegal and Mali was initially close until Senegal accomplished the rare feat of not conceding a basket in the third period as they won the period 15-0 and eventually the overall match 57-38. In the other quarterfinal match Nigeria took an early lead over Mozambique, but Mozambique was able to slowly cut into the lead until they took a single point lead going into the fourth quarter. Nigeria was able to stop the bleeding and with a very well executed fourth quarter and was able to win the match 71-66.
The semifinals contained two very close matches. The first one between Cameroon and Nigeria had Nigeria gain an early lead before Cameroon tied it up by half-time. The two teams began trading leads until Cameroon was able to build a slim 5 point lead midway in the fourth quarter. Nigeria however closed the gap and took a one point lead with a minute to go where a basket by Amina Njonkou gave Cameroon the lead with 28 seconds to go which proved to be the game winning basket as Cameroon qualified to its first ever finals.
In the other semi-final match between Angola and Senegal it was Senegal which took the overall lead and was able to extend it to 35-24 by the half. It looked as if Senegal would go on to win comfortably until Angola started to cut into the lead during the fourth quarter. Their comeback was so fierce that at times they were scoring at twice the rate as Senegal and with 32 seconds remaining the match was tied. However a foul on Senegal’s Aya Traore and the successful free throws with 10 seconds remaining gave Senegal the 56-54 win as Africa’s most successful team qualified to the final.
The final began as a very close affair with Senegal taking the lead. While Cameroon tried several times to cut the lead Senegal was equal to the task. By the fourth quarter Senegal was finally able to put Cameroon away as they won the quarter 24-16, the overall tournament and a spot at the Olympics 81-66. Nigeria took the bronze by going 20-0 in the fourth quarter as they defeated Angola 65-55.
Despite winning 11 titles at the women’s championships this will actually only be Senegal’s second trip to the Olympics. Cameroon and Nigeria will have one more opportunity to qualify to the Olympics at the final Olympic qualification tournament where the final five teams will be decided.
- South Africa
- FIBA. Women’s AfroBasket Championships Schedule/Results. Access on October 3 2015.