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USSA 2009 Semi-finals

By on April 13, 2009 in League

University of Johannesburg vs. University of Western Cape – Men

UJ started like a house on fire and scored 10 unanswered points. Their counterparts UWC couldn’t match their speed and quick transition and when UJ were not running they were running their sets. Given their advantage in height UJ were always going to be a handful. UWC were playing a 2-3 zone defence but somehow it was leaking when the ball movement became too much. The UWC guards (9 and 7) were probably the best combination of the tournament and they were causing problems for the joburg team as soon as they got their game going. They were shooting well from beyond the arc but UJ 7 was also having a great shooting game. At half time the score was 44 – 27 in favour of UJ.After the interval, UJ came out more aggressive on defence and UWC were making plenty of turnovers. UJ stayed in their zone defence almost for 3 quarters of the game and as soon as they switched it to a press, UWC panicked a little and turned the ball over even more. By the end of the 3rd quarter, UJ had a 28 point lead and they started the fourth with most of their 2nd unit players. Despite putting on a valiant effort throughout, UWC couldn’t match the talent shown by the UJ boys and they went down by a big margin.

UWC have been the surprise package of the tournament as far as the men are concerned and their composure and great commitment was the highlight of the tournament. They were led by a very good point guard in Denwin Jones but the youngsters were not fazed by the much older opponents they face. Final score: UJ 83 – 54 UWC

Wits University vs. Vaal University of Technology – Ladies

With half of the 1st quarter gone, Wits Ladies were hanging in there with a score of 5 – 6 to VUT. Then all of a sudden VUT cranked up their defence and went on a 6 – 0 run by stealing the ball over and over. By the end of the 1st quarter Wits were down by 10 and their lack of recognised ball handler was causing their coach plenty of headaches. VUT – 9 (Requelh Molema) was on point on defence and Wits players were struggling to get past her. The VUT Zim ladies were controlling the boards and trying to keep Wits 15 (Phumla) quiet with great man on man defence.

Despite the fact that Wits were playing great defence, they didn’t have a consistent transition offence and with all the turnovers they were making it was always going to be an uphill battle. Wits 14 (Phumla) and Wits 15 (Cassidy) were trying to keep them in the game with great rebounds on both ends but it was very hard for them to sustain it throughout the 40min. At half time the score was 15 – 32 to VUT.

After half time, VUT increased their intensity on defence and stretched the lead. With Wits running out of players to make a sustained comeback the lead ballooned and you could see no way back for ladies from the Witwatersrand University. In the end VUT won by 28 points.

Despite going out at this stage of the tournament, The Wits ladies proved that they can be the best out there and their team effort against UJ was commandable, now they have to do it on a consistent level to be recognised as another powerhouse in ladies basketball. Final score: Wits 43 – 69 VUT

Vaal University of Technology vs. Cape University of Technology – Men

VUT came into this came as overwhelming favourites but they were quickly brought to earth by an aggressive and committed effort from the Cape boys. This was a close game throughout and until VUT sorted out their offense, CPUT were in it.

VUT started the game with the wrong strategy by playing a lot of balls through their guards and CPUT were happy to give them the perimeter. VUTs Nhlanla, Ayanda and Christian were not having a great game up top but they were still causing problems with their speed in transition.

CPUT had three players that were troubling VUT on both ends of the floor, Vincent Ntunja (CPUT 13), CPUT 6 and CPUT 8 who was causing Thabang Kwedi from Vaal all kinds of problems. They were playing with no fear and with a lot of structure when the break wasn’t on. Speaking to Vincent after the game, he said: “We were trying to play slowly because Vaal like teams to play at a fast tempo because it suits their style.”

With 3 min to go it was a 6 point affair and then VUT realised that if they went to the post they could score easy buckets with the Likes of Thabang, Eric and Chief. So after a quick time out and some instructions from the coaches, VUT came out with that mindset and ended up winning the game through point in the paint. Final score: VUT 84 – 75 CPUT.

University of Pretoria vs. University of Johannesburg – Ladies

This was a rematch of the 2008 USSA final at UCT in the Western Cape with a few distinct additions to the line up on both teams. UJ started with a high tempo and Tuks were close throughout the 1st quarter. Ellen Mothlawse(UJ 10) was causing all sorts of problems for the Tuks defence with her great passing in the lane and her scoring. It was a bit of a surprise to see, Lungile on the court because she was nursing a twisted ankle from day 1 of the tournament.

Tuks were outhustling UJ in the post and Taki Mfamadi (Tuks 10) was making impossible baskets on offense with two or even 3 players on her. UJ went for a full court man-to-man in the 2nd quarter and despite getting free a few times, Tuks started making unnecessary turnovers and the score started go away from them.

UJ were in full flow and they were running their transition very well and capitalising on the hosts’ mistakes on offense. With UJ playing a great game throughout it was hard to find a fault in their game. Tuks ladies must be commanded for their fight for the 40 minutes and all their posts had an amazing game. Their defence and intensity was much better in this game.

After defeating the defending champions, it looked like UJ would go on and win the tournament. It was a great team effort and their guard play and defence was very good throughout this semi-final.

Tuks lost the game but they can take great heart from their performance in this semi-final. They will comeback stronger next year. Final score: UJ 74 – 45 Tuks

Game notes: The semis were interesting in that VUT didn’t get an easy passage to the final but were made to work hard for their spot in the final. UJ and VUT ladies teams had a foot in the final by the time they got to half time while the UJ men made easy work of UWC who didn’t have a strong bench. These semi-final games were played in great spirit with the right intensity. The referees in most of these games were shocking to say the least and there was an instance where the coaches even went to have discussions with them.

Article by Victor Shakineza

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  1. Victor says:

    The final was won by VUT for the ladies and by UJ for the men. I will be putting up an article as soon as I can with the All stars and MVP and some of the pictures.