Kenya women’s national team put on a strong defensive display in the final two quarters as they dispatched fierce rivals Uganda 71-40 in their first match of the FIBA Afro Basket Zone Five qualifiers played in Cairo, Egypt on Monday night.
Kenya came into the match on the backdrop of a painful loss to Uganda in the 2015 edition that knocked them out of qualification.
The first quarter was evenly contested as both teams traded baskets with Kenya leading 8-7 in the opening minutes and 16-13 respectively at the end of the quarter.
Uganda came rejuvenated in the second quarter and led 25-22 and a narrow 34-33 at the break but that is as close as they got as the game turned on its head.
Kenya with effective shot blocking contained the Ugandans to a mere three points in the third quarter to lead 49-37.
It was almost the same script in the fourth quarter with Uganda being limited to four points against Kenya's 21.
Odhiambo defensive presence
Kenya's Purity Odhiambo, who turns up for Uganda Christian University in the Ugandan league was the chief destroyer with her defensive presence by scooping 12 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three blocks.
Betty Kananu contributed 14 points and one assist. Kananu hit two three pointers from five attempts and was clinical with six converted shots from the free throw line.
Natalie Akinyi, who plays for Kenya Ports Authority was the playmaker with nine points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
Ritah Imanishimwe was the top scorer for Uganda with 10 points, five rebounds and four steals. Captain Flavia Oketcho added a further eight points and one assist.
This was Uganda's second loss of the tournament which virtually sealed their fate of not being among the qualifiers with one match still to play.
Kenya hosts Egypt and a win will be a giant stride towards securing one of the two berths available.
Kenya men's team lost 60-76 to Rwanda in their first match. Rwanda was clinical.
The team arrived and trained in Egypt one week to the tip off. Kenya can recover with three matches still to play including a tricky tie against South Sudan on Tuesday night.
(Monday) Men: Rwanda 76 Kenya 60, Uganda 94 Somalia 72 Women: Uganda 41 Kenya 70.
Fixtures (Tuesday)-In Kenyan time
Men: Somalia v Burundi (1.30 p.m.), South Sudan v Kenya (8 p.m.), Egypt v Rwanda (10.15 p.m.).
Women: Somalia v Uganda (3.45 p.m.), Kenya v Egypt (6 p.m.).