AfroBasket Women 2015 - Team Profile: Uganda
KAMPALA (AfroBasket Women 2015) - In the lead-up to AfroBasket Women 2015, we take a closer look at all 12 participating teams competing in the championship running from 24 September-3 October in Yaounde, Cameroon.
FIBA Ranking Women: Unranked.
Last participation at AfroBasket Women: 1997
Best result in the history of AfroBasket Women: Despite their remarkable achievement in Zone 5 qualifiers, Uganda are yet to win a game in the AfroBasket Women Finals.
Qualified for AfroBasket Women 2015: Winners of FIBA Africa Zone 5
History/Qualification: In September 2014, Uganda's women's team - nicknamed 'the Gazelles' - made an incredible comeback as they faced elimination from From FIBA Africa Zone 5 qualifiers.
After losing the first two games against Kenya and Egypt, hosts Uganda regrouped in time to make history and put Uganda's name back in the African basketball map again.
Women's AfroBasket, Uganda Cranes @usopen, All-Africa Games, @PremierLeague & more NEXT on @NTV_Omumuli cc @ntvuganda pic.twitter.com/DsEaPmfRDJ— Darren Allan Kyeyune (@AllanDarren) September 10, 2015
First, they bounced back to beat Egypt 78-45 in the knockout stage.
Then, on the final day of the competition, Claire Lamunu, who was eventually named tournament MVP, poured in a game-high 24 points while Rebecca Akullo added 11 as Uganda upset Kenya 64-61 to secure qualification for both AfroBasket Women 2015 and the All-African Games.
28 September 2014 entered Uganda's basketball history books as the day that the women's national basketball team rose to prominence.
The Ugandans have tried so many times to qualify for AfroBasket Women, but better opposition in Zone 5 such as Kenya and Rwanda became their main impediment. Until a year ago.
They will be the only East African team competing in Yaounde, Cameroon, and as Uganda's Basketball Federation President Ambrose Tashobya put it: "The whole region is relying on the Ugandan ladies to help shore up some respect for the region."
Uganda will compete in Group A against tournament hosts Cameroon as well as Mozambique, South Africa, Gabon and Mali.
Key Player: Both Sharon Karungi and Akullo, who were crucial for the 'Gazelles' in the qualifiers, should play key roles for the Ugandans.
Rising Star: Lamunu, a 21-year-old small forward, is currently one of the top talents in the country. However, it remains to be seen if she will wear the Ugandan uniform in Cameroon, given the fact that she has been awarded a scholarship at Vanguard University of Southern California.
Outlook: Uganda head coach Timothy Odeke has announced his final roster and Lamunu's name was nowhere to be seen. So if she is ruled out, the team have a tough challenge to overcome in heading to Africa's top women's competition without one of their most talented players.
Uganda pulled out of the 2015 All-African Games due to funding issues, but they hope to make it to Yaounde 2015.
" And the Gazelles are not only training hard for the tournament but are also praying that government,... http://t.co/22kqxRMJh6— #AfroBasket2015 (@TeamUgBball) September 10, 2015
Possible outcome: The tournament could be a learning process for the Ugandans, who might win or two games in the Group Phase.