Equity Bank Hawks are the 2018 Kenya Basketball Federation women’s Premier League champions.
The Hawks, who are also the Fiba Africa Zone Five champions, reclaimed the league title on a 3-1 basis after they saw off champions Kenya Ports Authority 73-64 in Game Four of the play-off finals at Nyayo National Stadium Gymnasium on Sunday.
Equity, proved the dock women wrong by winning three consecutive play-off final matches.
The bankers sounded an early warning of reclaiming the championship, which they lost to KPA last year with forward Seline Okumu, Belinda Okoth and Betty Kananu pulling strings, as they led 6-0 Equity took a 19-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.
KPA’s Lynnette Atieno and guard Brenda Angeshi, who were instrumental, narrowed the margin to 10 points for a 26-16 score in the second quarter.
KPA’s former players Seline Okumu and Betty Kananu did the damage as the bankers led 30-20 at the breather.
Equity coach David Maina introduced respected point guard Hilda Indasi in the third quarter.
Indasi teamed up with Belinda Okoth, who had a slight injury to heavily punish KPA as they built a huge 20-point difference at 54-34.
Despite KPA coach Anthony Ojukwu making several changes from the bench, the dock women performed poorly in defence in the third quarter.
Equity Bank, who led from start to finish, had guard Samba Mjomba, Most Valuable Player Okumu and limping but dangerous forward Okoth on fire as they put the game beyond KPA with a huge 26 points lead of 70-44 in the fourth quarter.
KPA had their point guard Hellen Oketch, Debora Obunga and Yvonne Akinyi going for late three-pointers in the dying minutes.
The trio’s big fight saw KPA cut down the huge margin to 11 points at 61-72, but time left was not favourable for them.
Forward Belinda Okoth scored 19 points, Betty Kananu and Samba Mjomba each added 12 for Equity Bank, while Bridgit Nanzala replied with game-high 23 points to her credit, while Hellen Oketch 16 for KPA.
‘We played well as per instructions from the word go and after having worked on the defence which cost us Game One in Mombasa, we were sure of reclaiming the title,” said coach Maina.
KPA coach Anthony Ojukwu said:, “I salute my players for reaching the play-off final after we lost six stars in the middle of the season without room for recruitment.”