Strathmore University's Swords qualified for the women's Kenya Basketball Federation Premier League play-offs semi-finals after they eliminated stubborn Zetech University 2-1 in the quarter-final at Nyayo National Stadium Indoor Gymnasium on Sunday.
Strathmore defeated Zetech University 53-47 in the decisive Game Three to advance to the semi-final on a 2-1 basis of the best-of-three series quarter-finals. After having won Game One 52-50, Zetech recovered to win Game Two 52-45 on Saturday to lock the series 1-1.
Sunday's make-or-break Game Three was to break the tie and determine who joins champions Kenya Ports Authority, Equity Bank and Storms in the last four.
Zetech still proved to be a hard nut to crack when forward Maureen Bosibori, Cynthia Mawero and Deedee Were fired three-pointers which steered their team to a 14-10 lead at end of first quarter. Strathmore had fighting Clara Rotich and Joy Mupalia struggling to cut down the scores without any luck as Zetech raced to another deserved 16-9 run at end of second quarter. Zetech led 30-19 at the breather.
Swords coach Ronnie Owino, a Fiba-Africa Instructor, used the half-time break to reorganise his charges. Edna Kola was their secret weapon scoring 11 points while Clara Rotich also scored two three-pointers for a 23-13 score in the third quarter; a result which turned the game in their favour.
Strathmore completed their comeback in the fourth quarter registering 11-4 to seal the remaining semi-finals slot.
Edna Kola shot 15 points for Strathmore, who will now take on Fiba Africa Zone V Club champions Equity Bank in the semis. Hardworking Maureen Bosibori replied with 15 points through five three-pointers for the losers.
"We had focused to reach the semi-finals which is a big achievement because we are a young team with a bulk of inexperienced first year students fresh from high school. We respect our semi-final opponents Equity Bank who have nine international players but we don't fear them," said Owino.
In men's Premier League semi-final matches played at the same venue, Strathmore University's Blades - who had lost 64-54 to champions Kenya Ports Authority on Saturday, recovered to tie the best-of-five-series semi-final 1-1 after winning Game Two 69-56 on Sunday.
Thunder stretched their lead over Ulinzi Warriors in the second semi-final to 2-0 after winning Game Two 70-57 on Sunday night. Sadat Gaya's charges had beaten the Soldiers 80-70 in Game One on Saturday. They
now need to win Game Three next weekend to proceed to the final.
In the men's Division One semi-finals, Emyba enhanced their chances of qualifying for the final after leading 2-0 on the best-of-five series.
On Sunday, Emyba won the semi-final's Game Two 84-59.
Emyba, who had won Game One on Saturday, had a great game from start with their stars Thomas Kioko sinking 14 points with team-mate Eric Olum hitting two three-pointers to lead 20-6 at the end of first quarter.
Terrorists, led by Eugene Genga had Nelson Mandela and Samuel Otieno, struggled in vain to erase the margin. Terrorists trailed 23-43 at half-time and only outscored Emyba 19-16 in the third quarter. Emyba only need to win Game Three next weekend to qualify for the final on a 3-0 basis.
In the men's Division Two semi-final, Joseph Gitau scored 20 points while Pardy Awuor added 17 as Riara University rallied from a game down to beat Kenya Airport Authority 77-61. Riara tied the best-of-five series 1-1 after having lost the opener to KAA on Saturday. Collins Adedi replied with 23 points and Vincent Oduya 11 for the losers. Dynamites easily demolished Strathmore University 42-28 in their women's Division One semi-final Game Two. Trizah Akeyo sunk game-high 20 points for Dynamites, who led 22-10 at the break.
Blazers went 2-0 up in the men's Division Two semi-final after registering a 45-40 victory over Little Prince in Game Two. Blazers had made a flying start on Saturday beating Little Prince 60-41 in Game One and will need to defeat their opponents in Game Three next weekend to qualify for the final on a 3-0 basis.
Strathmore University 53 Zetech University 47, Blazers 45 Little Prince 40, Emyba 84 Terrorists 59, Riara University 77 Kenya Airports Authority 61, Dynamites 42 Strathmore University 28, KPA 56 Blades 69, Ulinzi Warriors 57 Thunder 70.