20 January 2015

KENYA : Sudanese Chan propels USIU-A Flames to playoffs final

  • Sudanesese Sarah Chan(right) reacts in a past match. She was outstanding for USIU Flames in the semi- finals.(Photo by Shutterspeed)
Sudanese import Sarah Chan was the star player as United States International University- Africa, USIU-A, made it to the women premier league playoffs final on Monday at the expense of Co-operative Bank.
The students convincingly won game three 75-44 to seal a 3-0 series win and will meet Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) in the final.
Chan’s influence on the court was notable as she top scored for the third game in a row scoring 25 points and grabbed 19 rebounds.
Just like in the other two semifinal games, she was the most fielded player for USIU staying on the court for 36:54.
In total, Chan played for 107.26 in the three games out of the possible 120 and was omnipresent in both offensive and defensive play for USIU.
She was the highest rated player on the court
. “I try a lot but my team makes me the best. I cannot take full credit,” she told sportsnewsarena.com.
“I am not totally happy with my performance because I make mistakes. However, it is always good to see my teammates cover well whenever that happens.”
Chan will be the key player for USIU in the final and she is looking forward to the challenge. “Both teams are good with outstanding individual players and we are ready for it.”
Head coach George Mayienga acknowledged that Chan’s contribution was key in the team’s triumph. “She was outstanding. Chan does not foul too much and that is why she plays for long. If she was committing too many fouls then I would definitely substitute her.”
Hilda Indasi came late into the game and managed to score 16 points for USIU after playing for 22:59. She had five rebounds and two assists. Carol Ouma who played for 33:03 top scored for Co-op Bank with 14 points and grabbed four rebounds while Celine Okumu added 10 points with four rebounds and two assists.
USIU play KPA in the finals
The bankers were totally dominated from the start as they only led for 40 seconds compared to USIU’s 38:12.
Midway the second quarter, they were already trailing by 25 points which killed off their morale. Co-op Bank’s two key players for the series Grace Wanjiku and Melissa Akinyi started on the bench.
They came on in the second quarter and it appeared to have affected their play. Head coach Robert Mugabe defended his decision. “I treat all players equally and that is my philosophy. Some people might have felt that they were too good to start but its not a justification not to stick to my game plan,” he said.
“Even the best players need to feel the competition from within.”
USIU won all quarters 26-13, 13-12, 15-11 and 21-8 and reaped heavily from the paint with 36 points against Co-op Bank’s 12.
Turnovers contributed 12 points for USIU and 3 for Co-op Bank while both teams scored 2 points each from fast breaks.
The lead changed hands twice while both teams were tied for two times in the whole game. Mugabe conceded losing to a better team.
“We lost this game at the post. They had Chan who collected all the second balls while we missed a tall post player. Ours were good but could not match the competition.”
USIUs focus now is on the final and will travel to Mombasa for the first two games this weekend. Mayienga still has worries of missing key players who might not travel due to work commitments and classwork.
Also, there is the aspect of fatigue which will weigh down on his players. “We will train for the next three days, leave on Friday and play our first game on Saturday. It will take a toll on my players but we will prevail.”
This will be the third season in a row that USIU is playing in the final. Co-op Bank will play Sprite Storms in the third-place playoff.

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