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Basketball - 27. August 2013.

SEN - One of the heavyweights

DAKAR (AfroBasket Women/FIBA World Championship for Women) - Senegal have been the most dominant team in the FIBA Africa Championship for Women over the years, winning the event 10 times.

In one decade-long stretch, the Lionesses were nearly unbeatable.

The Senegalese were crowned champions at every AfroBasket from 1974 to 1984.

The 1977, 1981 and 1984 triumphs were extra sweet as each was held on home soil in Dakar.

After Zaire interrupted that winning streak in 1986, Senegal won the next two.

Just twice have they failed to finish in the top three.

At the inaugural AfroBasket Women in 1966, Senegal came in fourth while in 1986, the Senegalese didn't send a team to Maputo, Mozambique.

The AfroBasket is being held in Maputo this year and the Senegalese are among the favorites to stand on the top step of the podium judging from their build-up to the event.

The team just won five friendly games, beating American college side Florida State, 62-51 and 69-58.

Moussa Toure's team then defeated a Basque selection 61-42, 71-35 and 71-38.

After the last win against the Basques, Toure stressed the need to keep getting better.

"What we did was not wrong," he said, "but we had problems in the first half (of the games).

"We had to change defenses to overcome the teams we faced.

"It's going to take a lot of work to find our rhythm, whether on offense or defense."

Players to stand out for the African giants were Diodio Diouf and Fatou Dieng.

Ndeye Fall, Ndeye Sene, Astou Traore, Zandi Sarr, Awa Gueye and Aya Traore also had fine moments and are sure to have an impact on the national team at the AfroBasket, which tips off on 20 September.

The tournament will serve as a qualifying event for the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women in Turkey.


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