Rwanda finished in fourth place at the Women’s Afrobasket after losing 89-51 to Mali in the third-place game on Saturday, August 5 at BK Arena.
The Malians faced some resistance from Rwanda in the first quarter which ended 15-14, but things changed as they switched to “attack” mode; the game became an almost one team affair ever since.
Mali’s Alima Dembele held the forte with Sika Kone and Djenea N’Diaye while Mariam Coulibaly made her presence felt at both ends of the floor.
In the second quarter, the West Africans took things in their hands and turned the tables around as Rwanda entered a dry spell. The hosts were outscored 23-9 only for Mali to make their chances for the bronze medal clearer.
With only 20 minutes spent on the court, Mariam Coulibaly ensured Mali walked away with a win. She grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds (4 offensive) and contributed 9 points to the winning cause.
Alima Dembele and Sika Kone also played vital roles in their side’s victory as they netted 14 and 10 points respectively, while Djeneba N’Diaye added 13 points to the total.
Mali’s win was made up of Rwanda’s turnovers. Scoring 35 points from Rwanda’s errors, Mali capitalised from every opportunity they had.
The 2021 finalists were dominant near the basket, where they scored 44 of their 89 points. They also scored more points from second chances, fast breaks and had a more productive bench, which contributed 38 points.
Mali end their 2023 FIBA Women’s AfroBasket campaign with a bronze medal as a consolation for their semifinal defeat to Senegal who they beat in the Group Phase.
“We had a strong, solid start. It was a big tournament, we tried to do our best, because Mali is a good team. We tried to do our best but it didn’t work,”Charlotte Umugwaneza, Rwanda captain.
After securing the third place win, Mali coach Oumarou Sidiya said, “this was a rather complicated game from a psychological point of view. We had to manage the players’ state of mind. But we still go back home with a medal, though it’s not what we came here for.”
“We stayed within Mali’s standards in African competitions. We’ll start to think about what comes next, learn from what happened and hope that we can do better than what we did this year,”He added.
Source: The New Times