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AFROBASKET W - Senegal, Mali on course for title rematch
BAMAKO (Afrobasket Women) - Defending champions Senegal and tournament hosts Mali were expected to meet each other for the title before the start of the Afrobasket Women.
Nothing that happened in the Preliminary Round will have changed that forecast with both sides cruising to five wins in as many games.
The Democratic Republic of Congo are the latest side to fall victim to Mali, who are hoping to win the championship and qualify for the London Games.
Led by French coach Herve Coudray, Group A winners Mali won against the Congolese on Wednesday, 70-57.
They stormed into a 25-14 lead by the end of the first quarter and still had a 10-point advantage at the break.
Mali, who lost in the 2009 title game to Senegal, stretched their lead to 52-36 by the end of the third quarter and ended up winning comfortably.
Cissoko Djeneba led Mali with 21 points and five rebounds.
All was not lost for the Congolese, however, as they still booked a spot in the Quarter-Finals with a 2-3 record.
They will enter the last eight as the third-place side in Group A.
Mozambique finished the Preliminary Round with a 106-37 rout of Ghana.
The triumph improved Mozambique's record to 4-1 and left them second in Group A.
Meanwhile, Ivory Coast fell in their first three games to Mozambique, Mali and Congo but rebounded with two victories, including Wednesday's 74-53 hammering of Tunisia.
The two triumphs were enough for Ivory Coast, who got 22 points from Stephane Ngarsanet against the Tunisians, to reach the Quarter-Finals as the fourth-place side in Group A.
Tunisia (2-3) weren't able to ride the momentum of their upset of Congo on Tuesday and were eliminated from medal contention with the setback.
As for Senegal, who missed out on a spot at the Beijing Games when they hosted Afrobasket 2007 and lost to Mali in the championship game, they blew out Cameroon 70-58 to finish 5-0 and first in Group B.
Cameroon fell to 2-3 but still progressed to the last eight as the fourth-place team in Group B.
Angola (4-1) prevailed 63-49 over Guinea and wrapped up their Preliminary Round as the second-place team in the pool behind Senegal, while Joyce Ekworomadu had 10 points for Nigeria (3-2) as they won 59-49 over Rwanda (1-4) to come in third.
In the Quarter-Finals, which get underway on Friday, Mali will square off against Cameroon, Mozambique will go up against Nigeria, Senegal will meet Ivory Coast and Angola will face the Congolese.