USIU-A and Equity all square after game two

By francis marangu
Jan 17, 2022
  • USIU-A's Georgia Adhiambo shields the ball from Rose Omollo of Equity in the women's Premier League playoff. The teams are tied 1-1. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Fredrick Lugasi of Equity evades Titus Musembi from Co-Operative bank in the playoff. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

United States International University- Africa (USIU-A) won game two of the women's Premier League semifinal playoffs 46-45 on Sunday to tie the best-of-five series with Equity Bank.

On Saturday, Equity won game one 64-57 after coming back from 29-38 down at halftime. USIU-A won 19-18 and 19-11 in the first two quarters. But, the bankers rallied in the second half to win 21-6 and 14-13.

Samba Mjomba was the top scorer for Equity with 22 points while Sarah Chan replied with 13 for the students.

OIn the second game, USIU-A overcome a poor start in first half to narrowly win and get back into contention. Head coach George Mayienga welcomed the slim but important win. “We needed any type of a win today,” he told Sports News Arena.

The first quarter was uncharacteristic of the league champions as they could not find the rim with ease. Chan was guilty of missing many attempted shots including two free shots. Angela Okoth also missed two free shots in the quarter and teamwork was lacking from the students.

Mjomba did good rebounding for Equity as they took a 2-0 lead before tying 2-2. Equity then went on a 12-0 scoring run to lead 14-2 with just over six minutes played. They had the biggest lead of 14 points at 18-4 and won the quarter 20-9.

With four minutes played in second quarter, Equity held steady to their 14-points lead at 23-9. They remained consistent after six minutes leading 25-11 then extended to 16 points at 27-11 which was their biggest lead of the quarter.

In the closing three minutes, USIU-A brought their “A” game to counter the free-scoring bankers. Cynthia Irankunda scored five points and Chan made four as USIU-A went on a 13-0 scoring run to cut the deficit to three points at 24-27.

The students won the second quarter 15-9 as Equity led 29-24 at halftime.

The turning point

Three successive turnovers from Mjomba, Denise Apondi and Linda Mfuchi in the first two minutes of the third quarter gave USIU-A the with Chan scoring four points and Georgia Adhiambo adding two. It brought the students to within a point of the bankers at 30-31.

Cynthia Irankunda then fired a three-pointer with 5:00 on the clock to tie the scores 33-33. A free shot from Angela Okoth gave USIU-A a 34-33 lead and extended to 39-33. USIU-A won the quarter 15-8 for a two-point lead of 39-37 going to fourth quarter.

Within five minutes of fourth quarter, the scores tied 42-42 after Eleanor Musundi made two free shots for Equity. Musundi then scored a basket to give the bankers a 44-42 lead but Irankunda tied 44-44.

Okoth scored a basket for USIU-A to break the tie and Equity could only manage a free shot as they won the quarter 8-7.

Mayienga said the turnaround in second half was as a result of good pressure management by his players. “We were not prepared for this one. After playing a lousy game on Saturday, the girls were under pressure. When you put them under pressure, they play badly and that was the case in first half,” he noted.

The coach added: “At halftime, I just told them to play easy and ease the pressure.”

Masaku Sparks benefited from a 20-0 walkover against Ulinzi Blades.

Co-operative Bank finished fifth in men's Premier League after beating Equity Bank 55-46 in their ranking game. Titus Musembi top scored for Co-op Bank with 11 points while Enock Ogecha scored 13 for Equity.

Blades came seventh with a 20-0 walkover against Nakuru Club.