Strathmore University women’s team have, against all odds qualified for the Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) women premier league semi-finals, ending a seven-year drought.
The students were taking on Zetech University in the best-of-three quarter finals and with all bets put on Zetech to qualify, the former registered a 2-1 win.
Roonie Owino’s side fought tooth and nail to win game one by one basket in a 52-50 outcome but could not hold their own in game two, losing by six points.
In the deciding game three, Owini’s charges overturned an 11 point deficit they had carried into the breather to win the match 53-47 and book a date with FIBA Zone Five defending champions Equity Bank Hawks in the semis.
“Our biggest undoing in Saturday’s Game Two match was defending and thus the loss. I am however grateful that my team played with zeal and confidence on the deciding match. They did not lose hope even when we were trailing by 11 points,” said Owino.
The tactician says that as a team they have achieved the target they had set, beating the vicious cycle of losing players as they clear school to make a comeback into the last four.
“Now that we are in the last four since 2011, my biggest challenge will be preparing my charges mentally to play Hawks. We lost home and away to the bankers in regular season and it will be an herculean task to make my players hold their own against a ‘big team’ in the semis,” added Owino saying that his players’ confidence often crumbles when they face experienced sides.
Meanwhile, the best-of-five men’s semis threw off on Saturday where defending champions Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) dominated all fronts to win in a highly charged match against Strathmore Blades. Action was stopped for close to ten minutes in the final quarter as two opposing players came close to exchanging blows.
At the time of the stoppage, the dockers were leading 54-43 with five minutes to play and the stalemate did little to change the match for the students as they eventually lost 62-54.
In the other men’s semi final, Ulinzi Warriors lost 80-70 to Eastlands-based Thunder as Griffins Ligare led the onslaught against the soldiers who played catch up throughout the match.
Warriors lost the match in the first quarter as they trailed by 11 points in a 22-11 outcome. Coach William Balozi’s charges unsuccessfully tried to make up for the deficit, at one point coming three points shy of leveling. Thunder, however, would have none of it as they outwitted the soldiers to pull away and keep the difference at ten points.ond and third in 33:02.26 and 33:50.60
The women’s gong went to Chepkemoi Mutai in 40:39, Jacinta Mawia coming in at 40:43 and Alice Kamunya in 40:57.