AfroBasket Women 2015 more than an Olympic dream for Lonlack
DALLAS (AfroBasket Women 2015) - Two years ago, Ramses Lonlack played a key role in helping Cameroon finish fourth at AfroBasket Women 2013, their best result in the tournament in three decades.
The 1.76m guard averaged 8.9 points, 3.6 rebounds per contest and led the "Indomitable Lionesses" with 2.9 assists per game as they just missed out on qualification for the 2014 FIBA Women's World Championship.
Lonlack was named to the All-Tournament Team along with Angolan ace Nacissela Mauricio, Astou Traore of Senegal and Mozambique's duo of Leia Dongue and Deolinda Ngulela.
Team Cameroon picked up another win today, downing Cape Verde, 62-39. Next up: defending champs Angola, Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/0TNgvoETr3— Memphis W Basketball (@MemphisWBKB) September 23, 2013
Although the former University of Memphis standout did not play in last month's FIBA Africa Zone 4 qualifier - where her country failed to book its place for the All-African Games 2015 - she is confident she has a lot more to offer to her national team.
Cameroon will host the 2015 edition of the AfroBasket Women from 24 September to 4 October in Yaounde. The tournament is a qualifier for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
"In 2013 we came [up] short but we would say that the taste of it is still in our mouth and we are so anxious for September to be here," Lonlack told FIBA.com.
For the 26-year-old, Cameroon 2015 is more than an Olympic dream. It is about putting her country's name on the international basketball map as well as a personal and family affair.
This is [about] more than AfroBasket, it is about bringing back women's basketball in general, which has been lost in Cameroon. - Lonlack
"For me, the tournament is another opportunity to play in front of my family, relatives and fans," said Lonlack, who most recently played for the Dallas Diesel Club.
"I have been there [AfroBasket Women] before but not at home.
"My mother Maguepouo Colette and my brother Nziyo will live my dream live and I am so thankful that God has given us this opportunity to host AfroBasket Women in 2015.
"I have to represent my father Nimpa Michel who is in heaven and Nimpa's family."
Lonlack played four years for the Memphis Tigers, collecting a number of individual awards and earning the nickname "African Queen".
Good luck to @African_Queen_B and her Cameroon teammates against Kenya tomorrow in the Afrobasket preliminary round!— Memphis W Basketball (@MemphisWBKB) September 19, 2013
The Cameroonian ace capped her collegiate career with 1,166 points, 639 rebounds, 301 steals and 225 assists, to rank 17th all-time in scoring and in the top 15 in rebounding at Memphis.
Now that she is committed to her national team, Lonlack recognises how much Cameroon women's basketball has improved in the past few years.
Players such as Nicole Jamen, Gano Njiogap and Priscilla Mbiandja give Cameroon hope of competing against Africa's best teams.
For Cameroon, only the ticket to the Olympics next year would be a positive result. - Lonlack
Lonlack said: "With some fresh legs being added to the roster we feel we play the game the way we want to and how we want to."
Cameroon closed their AfroBasket Women 2013 campaign with a heartbreaking 56-53 loss to Senegal.
That moment, Lonlack says, has remained firmly with her.
"I also feel I let my fans, my teammates, coaches and relatives down in 2013 in Maputo," she explained.
"So I will not only bring the AfroBasket Women cup to my country Cameroon but to my city, Bertoua, which has supported me since my basketball career started."