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Cameroon overpower DR Congo, advance to #AfroBasketWomen
YAOUNDE (Cameroon) – A nerve racking night it was for Cameroon whose dazzling comeback in Game 2 of the Zone 4 qualifiers secured a ticket for the FIBA Women’s AfroBasket 2019.
Having overpowered DR Congo 91-46 in Game 1 on Saturday, Cameroon came into the Game 2 with a 45 point advantage and in high spirits.
The "Lionesses" edged DR Congo 17-14 in the first quarter but were stunned in the second quarter clinched by Congo 27-9 with the Congolese heading into Half-Time with a 15 points domination.
In the third quarter the Cameroonians cut down the point deficit to 13 with DR Congo maintaining a 57-44 lead, but with the last quarter came spectacle and drama.
Cameroon powered by captain Marie Ange Mfoula who netted a game-best 19 points,and 10 rebounds held off of the offensive from Congo tying the game at 66-66 with 1:23 minutes to go.
Point guard Sandrine Ayangma was in fine fettle sinking in 12 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists as Cameroon finally cruised to a 70-66 win to lock down a spot in this year’s FIBA Women’s AfroBasket.
The Democratic Republic of Congo were left gnashing their teeth after blowing up a 22 point lead in the third quarter.
Mariana Muadi who chipped in 13 points and Marlene Ngobeleza who contributed 12 points and 4 rebounds will probably feel unfortunate being on the losing end.
Cameroon’s win in Game 2 means the “Lionesses” will be featuring in the continental basketball bonanza for the 13th time and Captain Mfoula told FIBA.basketball that they were lucky to get a win against a more rigorous DR Congo team.
"Winning Game 1 by a 45 point margin didn’t do us a lot of good. We came in relaxed and thought the qualification was secured. The performance from Congo at the second and third quarter somehow motivated us because they played very well and pushed us to play our real level."
“We were lucky to win the game tonight. This is a young team. We don’t know ourselves very well but seeing how we played in the last quarter, it’s a good thing going into the future. We have to maintain such resilience going forward."
"We want to go to the AfroBasket and make a statement. Two years ago in Mali we weren’t very good and for us getting to the semis should be the main objective."
DR Congo’s captain Natacha Mambengya regretted the defeat but said lots of positives had to be taken from the two legged game in Yaoundé.
"We lost a game we should’ve won but this is basketball and everything is possible. Cameroon played really good but how we were able to contain them was impressive.
"We controlled the second and third quarter. The aggressiveness and determination with which we played is a good thing and we need to keep up with this spirit."
"We’re building a new team but already there’s a certain chemistry amongst the players and this will help us going into future competitions."
Cameroon become the fifth nation to qualify for this year’s African basketball bonanza, joining reigning champions Nigeria, Senegal (runners up), Mali and Mozambique who automatically sealed a spot for the event after reaching the semi-finals of the 2017 edition.