ZONA VI : Zimbabwe sneaks past South Africa in closely contested battle
The highly anticipated matchup between Zimbabwe and South Africa’s women’s teams lived up to its hype. In a game that was the fastest paced so far in the tournament, there was no clear favourite and both teams fought tooth and nail till the final buzzer. This game featured 3 lead changes and 5 times when the score was tied. Zimbabwe started off the game in a man to man defense, and South Africa countered that by running a high screen and roll offense. South Africa’s shots were not in the first 4 minutes of the game, and Zimbabwe got off to a running start, largely in part to 8 first quarter points by Helina Nyagato (8). But South Africa quickly rallied back when Gabisile Ndlangamandla (5) provided a much needed spark off the bench to finish the quarter tied at 15-15. The two teams continued to trade baskets and play stingy defense for much of the second period and the game was tied at 28-28 heading into half time.
In the third quarter, South Africa seemed to have trouble containing the dribble penetration of Margaret Magwaro (5) as she consistently drove to the basket and got to the free throw line a game high 8 times. Zimbabwe managed to get to the free throw line 33 times, making 67% of those attempts, while South Africa got to the charity stripe only 18 times, but made 15 of their attempts. This is also because South Africa had almost twice as many three point attempts (13 – 7) than Zimbabwe. Gabisile continued where she had left in the previous game and made 4 out of 9 three pointers. It has gotten to the point where one gets shocked if she misses from deep. She has hit 8 out of 25 (32%) long range shots in the tournament so far. Scoring tipped slightly in Zimbabwe’s favour in this quarter and they headed into the fourth quarter with a four point lead. South Africa would rally back behind consistent play from J Van Wyk (8), and Takalani Mfamadi (4) and Gabisile, but Zimbabwe countered with Margaret Magwaro (5), Helina Nyagato (8), and Sharon Chamwarura (12). In the end, Zimbabwe managed to hold on to a closely contested battle and took the game 63 -58.
Gabisile Ndlangamandla – 15 points (44% on 3 pointers), 4 assists, 4 rebounds
Takalani Mfamadi – 10 points, 4 rebounds
J Van Wyk – 11 points, 3 rebounds
Helina Nyagato – 14 points, 4 rebounds
Margaret Magwaro – 15 points
Sharon Chamwarura – 15 points, 4 rebounds