Malawi Queens on Monday registered their second successive win in the Cosana Tri-Nations Tournament by sweeping aside Zimbabwe’s Gems 46-23 at Kamuzu University of Health Sciences Sports Complex in Blantyre.
Even without overseas-based star shooters Mwawi Kumwenda and Joyce Mvula, the Queens still put up an awesome show of force to register a 22-basket margin victory.
However, they cannot afford the luxury of being in the comfort zone ahead the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England as they were up against a side ranked six places below them.
Nevertheless, they have every reason to feel that they are on the right track in the countdown to the Birmingham Games.
The Queens started the game with all guns blazing and comfortably led 14-4 in the first quarter with Tendai Masamba and Jane Chimaliro rarely missing their attempts. It proved from throw-off that they were in for a kill.
It was a see-saw affair in the second-quarter as Zimbabwe improved their performance. They took the Queens head-on to score eight baskets against Malawi’s nine as the tally increased to 23-12 in Queens’ favour by half-time break.
Queens suffered a blow in the segment after goal defender and captain Caroline Mtukule-Ngwira was substituted following a minor head injury and was replaced by Laureen Ngwira.
But the captain was drafted back into the game at the start of the third-quarter, replacing Ngwira.
The Queens were back to their incredible form in the third quarter as they planted 12 baskets against the visitors’ four for the scoreline to read 35-16 before the final stanza.
Malawi continued to dominate in the last quarter in which they converted 11 baskets against Zimbabwe’s seven to win 45-23.
The solace for the Gems was their 38-34 win over Namibia’s Desert Jewels earlier on.
This was the third straight loss for the Namibians who lost 48-36 to Zimbabwe in their opening game the previous day before losing to Malawi 60-23.
Queens coach Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa said she was impressed with her team’s performance.
She said: “I am very happy with our performance today. Our movements were top-notch, giving our opponents a tough time.
“However, there is still room for improvement in all departments.”
Her Gems counterpart Ropafadzo Mutsauki said his team started slowly, but they came stronger in the second quarter after some changes.
“Defensively, I think we played well because we manged to stop them from their fast break and fast transition. So, I am happy as a coach because we lost to a better side and we have learnt a lot.”
Malawi and Zimbabwe face-off again this morning. The competition is using a round-robin format, whereby each team is supposed to play each other thrice before a side with the most points is declared champion.
Chawinga-Kaluwa maintained the line-up that started in their win over Namibia in their opener on Sunday. Masamba and Chimaliro started in the shooting position while Bridget Kumwenda was wing-attacker, Takondwa Lwazi-Mtonga (centre) and Martha Dambo (wing-defender). Mtukule-Ngwira was goal-defender whereas Towera Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda was goalkeeper.
In the Under-19 section, Junior Queens also had a good start after beating Namibia 43-32. Zimbabwe started off with 40-23 triumph over Namibia.