Apart from NWU and VUT playing a de facto Varsity Women’s Basketball final dress rehearsal in Round 3, there was more to play for at Wits Sports Hall on Saturday.
At the same time, hosts Wits and UCT were set to complete their 2019 campaign with the no small matter of avoiding the ‘wooden spoon’ at play…
TO-AND-FRO IN THE ‘UNDERCARD’
The latter clash was first on court, and delivered a topsy-turvy affair. Buoyed by the crowd in attendance, Wits’ ‘Lady Bucks’ edged the first quarter to lead 11-10. However, UCT swung the clash in their favour during the second quarter. Emily Daries and Cebile Zlikalala came to the fore for the Capetonians – whether it was lay ups, assists or thwarting Wits on defence – who lead 30-21 at the break.
Wits’ half-time team talk did the trick for them, though, as they claimed the third quarter by 16 points to 12 to leave the score at 42-37 going into the closing quarter. Nicole Mangondo, who finished as the match’s leading scorer with 14 points, was a key influencer during the quarter. That said, UCT regained composure to thwart the hosts enough to seal a 51-44 win.
NWU STRIKE FIRST BLOW AHEAD OF ‘MAIN EVENT’
With NWU and VUT having secured their place in the inaugural Varsity Women’s Basketball final, their round robin clash served as an intriguing ‘dress rehearsal’. The Vaal-based teams had also met in the USSA final in July, with VUT claiming the bragging rights, so very little was unknown between them.
In that regard, NWU would have been aware of the threat of Stabile Ngandini in attack and the effectiveness of national player Keitumetse Molisane in defence. However, the ladies in purple and aqua couldn’t prevent VUT claiming a 17-11 first quarter lead. NWU did, though, completely swing the tie in their favour during the second quarter by outscoring VUT 22-11 to lead 33-28 at the break.
NWU’s stars Jinita Nyalungu, Phindile Nkosi, Enathi Petse and Mapule Mwale were again at it in the third quarter by helping their team extend their lead by five further points to lead 50-40. VUT salvaged some pride ahead of Sunday’s decisive clash by sharing the final quarter 15-each… but it remains to be seen how they recover from the 65-55 defeat.
By S’fiso Nyawo