Air Warriors Babes of Abuja on Tuesday defeated Nigerian Army Amazons by 77-41 points on the final day of the Savannah Conference phase of the 2019 Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball League.
The victory meant the Air Warriors won the Savannah Conference of the competition’s conference phase, played at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja.
Air Warriors made light work of their military service colleagues as they barely broke any sweat to end their outstanding unbeaten performance on a high.
Coach Samson Sotuminu unleashed his dynamic trio of Kasham Emmanuel, Chinwe Okah and Murjanatu Musa on Army Amazons in the first quarter and they descended heavily on their opponents’ defence.
Musa and Okah were particularly constant threats to Army Amazons, as they had been throughout the season.
By the time the first quarter ended, Air Warriors led by 24-13 points.
In the second quarter and with nothing but their bragging rights to protect having secured top spot, coach Sotuminu rotated his squad and rested his key players.
The decision pegged back Warriors’ attack and allowed Army Amazons into the game, but Air Warriors still took the quarter by 18-5 points.
The reintroduction of Musa and Emmanuel added bite to Air Warriors’ attack once again, and there was no question as to whom the evening belonged at the end of the quarter.
Coach Patrick Paul of Army Amazons called for a time out to address his overpowered defence, but it made little difference.
However, Hannatu Maikasuwa stood out for Army Amazons with 11 points, four assists and five rebounds.
A subdued third quarter ended 18-9 in favour of Air Warriors.
Again, Sotuminu rested his key players in the early stage of the final quarter, but Precious John and Hope Olisenedozie were still on hand to do the damage against Army Amazons.
When Sotuminu reintroduced his lethal trio later, it was to finish off the game and that was how it ended 77-41.
Okah was the top performer with 19 points, two assists and six rebounds, while Musa contributed 15 points, five assists and 15 rebounds.
Emmanuel finished the day on 16 points, seven assists and nine rebounds.
An elated but humble Sotuminu told reporters after the game that his team would take the winning momentum to the National Eight.
“We will only rest for a few days and return to training. We know that the National Eight won’t be a walk in the park because the Atlantic Conference teams are tough.
“But we are motivated. We will carry on from here and sustain our winning mentality,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Technical Committee of Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) will now have to ratify the final tables of both the Atlantic and Savannah conferences before making them public.
However, it was clear that Air Warriors topped the Savannah Conference, as they were the only team unbeaten in the conference.
Nigeria Customs, Plateau Rocks and Black Gold Queens will follow Air Warriors to the National Eight from the conference.(NAN)