By Ivan Naijuka
Uganda Christian University Lady Canons (Basketball team for ladies) won their third successive Women National Basketball trophy on Monday 04, December 2017 against KCCA Leopards in four straight games. The game was played at YMCA Wandegeya – Kampala.
Playing in their ninth Final and eighth inn succession in a period of 11 years, The UCU Lady Canons who joined the top tier league a decade ago defeated KCCA Leopards in four games in the best of seven series of the 2017 National Basketball League.
After successively going through the 2017 National Basketball League regular season and the first two rounds of the playoffs, the expectations for KCCA Leopards to win were high, not even UCU Lady Canons coach Emmanuel Kiguyi thought it would be that easy for the Lady Canons.
“I did not expect a sweep but I have always believed in these girls, they were well prepared for a win,” Kiguyi said. KCCA has been keeping it so close in the earlier quarters but it was only clear they would lose in the last quarter.
The Game Starting the last campaign, the Leopards won the opening quarter 14 -13 and kept the visiting team (UCU) in check through the subsequent two quarters despite falling behind 14-12 and 12-11 respectively before collapsing in the final frame. As it has been the case throughout the series, the KCCA Leopards were trailing a few points behind the Lady Canons three minutes into the quarter and the Lady Canons hit 20 of 30 from the line to make it 54-62 respectively.
Vilma Achieng, Judith Nansobya and Ritah Imanishimwe scores led the ladies to the third title with 17, 14 and 11 points respectively.
According to the Lady Canons team captain Vilma Achieng, the finals were not going to be very hard because Martha Soingi the KCCA defense and Larrisa Katungeko were out, “I knew it would be very easy for us. But also we trained enough and I was very confident”, Vilma said.
The KCCA coach Mr. Roger Serunyigo said that they were almost defenseless without Martha. “It was a very big gap to fill in three weeks and when you are crippled, it’s difficult to contain opponents like UCU”, Serunyigo said.
The KCCA Leopards went through the regular season unbeaten and swept their two postseason series before melting against the Lady Canons, dashing the hopes of many who had expected a competitive series.
The Leopards’ Captain Halima Nabusimba said that their loss was shocking; “I conceded defeat but losing Game 1; game 2; game 3; oh my goodness…. even Game 4? It is really shocking,” she said.