Western Kentucky’s Raneem Elgedawy and Meral Abdelgawad delivered strong performances as Egypt finished a perfect run through Zone 5 qualifying on Monday morning with a 90-72 victory over Kenya at the Lugogo Indoor Arena in Kampala, Uganda.
The victory secured a spot for Egypt in the 2019 AfroBasket finals next month in Senegal.
The Egyptians posted a perfect 5-0 record in the qualifying tournament, winning all three of their group stage games before defeating Rwanda in the semifinals Sunday and knocking off Kenya on Monday. In perhaps their most impressive win of the event, Egypt overcame a 16-point halftime deficit against host Uganda in their second qualifying game last Thursday, outscoring the hosts 40-15 over the final 20 minutes in the 64-55 win.
Abdelgawad appeared in all five games for the Egyptians, averaging nine points, four rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. The rising WKU sophomore enjoyed a breakout performance in Egypt’s first game, scoring nine of her team-high 19 points in the fourth quarter of a tight 86-82 win over Kenya. The Cairo native also knocked down a 3-pointer in the final minute against Uganda to hold off a late charge.
Despite missing Egypt’s first two games, Elgedawy closed the tournament in a big way, averaging a double-double with 11.7 points and 11.7 rebounds over the final three games. The C-USA Second Teamer was dominant in Egypt’s 78-73 semifinal win over Rwanda, finishing with 10 points and 21 rebounds, the second-most by any player in a single AfroBasket qualifying game this year.
Egypt’s qualification for the 2019 AfroBasket finals continues a strong recent run by the country in the competition. A two-time winner in 1966 and 1968 as the United Arab Republic, Egypt has now reached four straight AfroBasket finals, its second-longest streak in the competition’s history.
The 2019 AfroBasket finals will be hosted in Dakar, Senegal, between Aug. 9-18. The Egyptians, one of 12 teams to reach the finals, will be seeking to improve upon a seventh-place finish in the most recent AfroBasket competition in 2017.