History was made on Sunday afternoon at the Wits Multi Sports Hall, when the first Varsity Women’s Basketball final was played between VUT and NWU.
With VUT and NWU having played each other the day before, and often in preparation for the tournament, there were no secrets between the two… and it showed.
The game started off in a very tense manner as the teams slowly looked to get in their stride, defending well on both ends. As a result, the first quarter concluded with the sides deadlocked at 12-12. The second quarter belonged to VUT, who kept their defensive game strong, exploiting the space created from intercepting NWU’s attack and being relentless on the counterattack. VUT furthermore looked a more clinical side on attack, landing a lot more of their shots at the hoop than in their performance before the final. Nonetheless, the break saw VUT up by a slim four points at 30-26.
NWU did come back in the third, to make life difficult late on for VUT, who conceded a lot more points than they would have liked thanks to the introduction of the Power Play. The third quarter then ended with the margin still just at four points, with VUT still in the lead. NWU did return in the fourth and final quarter working with the momentum built in the third, to mount a good comeback to see them eventually take the lead. The dying moments of the game were nerve-wracking as things remained rather tight, with the contest possibly going any way. It was VUT, however, who fought hard in the end after coming close to suffering yet another defeat in as many days against the Purple Army of NWU. The fourth quarter ended with the match up having to go to a shootout to decide a winner, after the teams had played out to 58-all finish.
After both teams missed their first six shootout efforts, VUT were the ones that proved to have the big match temperament when Tsiamo Maswabi landed her effort and Ipeleng Aphane couldn’t.
Stabile Ngandini of VUT was named the MVP for her unforgettable performance throughout the 2019 Varsity Women’s Basketball tournament.
By S’fiso Nyawo