For the first time in more than five decades Senegal finished outside of the podium of a FIBA Women’s AfroBasket event.
The eleven-time African champions, who dominated Africa women’s basketball for most of the past decades, came up short in the Third-Place game, losing 53-49 against host Cameroon on Sunday.
In the rematch of the Women’s AfroBasket 2015 Final held in the very Palais Polyvalent des Sports in Yaounde, Cameroon bounced back from a disappointing Semi-Final clash against Mali two days earlier to return to the podium of the tournament for the first time in six years.
Even though Senegal led 27-22 at the break, Cameroon, inspired by Marguerite Effa, fought back to deny the Senegalese.
Effa scored ten of her game-high 15 points from the Free-Throw line, Hermine Guotue was 5-of-7 from field to finish with 11 points off the bench and Cendra Timawe Weledji – the other Cameroonian to score in double-digits – contributed 13 points on a 6-of11 shooting.
Senegalese duo of Mame-Marie Sy-Diop and Bintou Diéme – the only Lioness to score ten points or more each – combined for 22 points in a game that they led all bu 4:09 minutes.
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“I feel like this is the gold medal for us because Senegal is the team that always beat us. They beat us in 2013 and 2015. At this stage, you either have a medal or you don’t. I am overjoyed after not competing for four years – I had my baby girl – and just come back and help my country is a great feeling,” said Cameroon captain Ramses Lonlack.
“It was heartbreaking for us to come so close and lost to Mali in the semis, it was tough but they were the better team,” Lonlack added.
Senegal, the No.2 team ranked team on the continent, last won the title in 2015 in Cameroon.
Senegal last finished outside of the podium in 1966 in Conakry, Guinea when they finished fourth in the four-nation tournament that included Egypt (under the name of United Arab Republic), Guinea and Central African Republic.