Kenyan top women’s basketball teams Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and Equity Bank Hawks on Tuesday registered important wins as the 2023 inaugural Africa Women’s Basketball League (AWBL) entered match day two in Egypt.
While Kenyan champions KPA were looking to kick off their campaign with a win, Equity Hawks were seeking redemption after their poor start on Monday when they lost to Angola’s Inter Clube 80-55 during their opening Group B match.
Shooting guard Victoria Reynolds scored 23 points while center Madina Okot added 20 as KPA hammered CNSS from DR Congo 82-46 for their first win Group A.
The Antony Ojukwu-coached KPA were opening their campaign in the 10-team competition while CNSS were looking to redeem themselves having gone down 98-41 to hosts Alexandria Sporting Club on the opening day.
In a hotly contested first quarter that saw five lead changes and two ties, Reynolds scored eight of the Kenyan champions’ thirteen points, while Gracia Nguz led the Congolese side with six. KPA struggled to establish a rhythm, falling behind 8–6 and 15–13.
In the second quarter, KPA went on a yet-to-be-witnessed in this championship rally, shutting out CNSS for only 4 points while scoring 24.
The dominance continued in the final two quarters for KPA who ruled the court through Reynolds and Okot.
Reynolds, who finished with 23 points added 5 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal to her tally as Madina picked a double-double with 18 rebounds, 5 steals and a block.
Equity Hawks redemption
A fourth quarter 27-8 blowout for Kenyan side Equity Bank Hawks saw them pick their first win, defeating Benin’s ASPAC 87-69.
The bankers came from behind, having trailed 39-35 at halftime, to outscore ASPAC 25-22 and 27-8 in the final two stanzas to help themselves get back to winning ways.
Hawks center Grace Malu was the star of the show as she finally found her footing in the final period, scoring 13 to take her final tally to 25 with 17 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 assists and 2 steals.
Skipper Melissa Otieno who endured a slow start as well scoring 8 in the opening half, added 10 in the third quarter and three in the final period to complete the comeback win with 21 and 5 assists.
Betty Kananu and Maryann Nyagaki also managed double digits with 16 and 11 points respectively, the former completing her double-double with 12 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal.
Hawks coach Benson Oluoch said in his post-match interview: “We pushed the ball more and our shots were falling in the final period which wasn’t the case in the opening three quarters so we will look to build on this momentum going forward.