South Africa was crowned 2015 Diamonds Challenge on Friday night after sweating to beat Malawi Queens 40-35 baskets at the Ugu Sports Centre near Margate in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. The victory meant South Africa went through the round robin stage of the competition without losing a match.
The Queens were superior in the first and second quarter, as they kept the hosts on the tight rope with the likes of Sindi Simutowe and Joyce Mvula doing the damage. They led in both quarters 11-6 and 22-19.
The Proteas did not have things all their own way. The Queens goal attack Sindi Simutowe had an outstanding game, netting most of her attempts in the circle and the visitors never gave up.Coach Peace Kaluwa maintained her squad, which she has been featuring like Towera Vinkhumbo, Caroline Ngwira, Takondwa Lwazi, Thandi Galeta, Grace Mwafulirwa, Joyce Mvula and Sindi Simutowe.
The Proteas coach made some changes to their line-up, with Lindie Lombard starting the match for the first time since a long lay-off because of injury and newcomer Nokubonga Sibiya starting at centre. The Queens made changes in the fourth quarter, bringing in Lauren Ngwira, who sat out the early stages of the match, until the dynamic shooter Joyce Mvula had to leave the court after being hit on the knee.
South Africa started slowly and the Queens were five goals up before the hosts scored their first goal.
#MalawiQueens were outstanding in the first and second quarter, at one stage scoring five unanswered goals before the Proteas came back hard.
The very vocal multiracial crowd got behind the Proteas and the noise level rose as the minutes ticked by before the final whistle was blown.
#MalawiQueens coach Peace Kaluwa attributed the defeat to poor officiation.
Kaluwa said, “ We are not satisfied with the umpires who officiated this game because they biased towards South Africa, but what can we do since all of them were chosen by them and they are from their country,” said Kaluwa.
Kaluwa said it is proper that such games should be officiated by neutral umpires.
In her remarks, South African coach Plummer said, “It was very physical and Malawi kept coming back at us,” said Holtzhausen after the match. “We just couldn’t get away from them. We let them back in the game.”
In the earlier match of the evening, Uganda thrashed Zambia 60-34. Zambia lost all their round robin matches, while Malawi were only beaten by South Africa.
Malawi received Silver for finishing second.mana