The Wits women’s basketball first team lost to the University of Johannesburg in Hall 29 on the weekend leaving them with one more chance to qualify for a place in a national tournament.

If they are to participate in the University Sport South Africa (USSA) tournament, the Wits Lady Bucks will have to win their last qualifying game. The women’s first team is one of four Wits basketball teams hoping to take part in the national tournament, which starts in Port Elizabeth in July.

The game against UJ was competitive from the first sound of the buzzer and both teams showed determination to shoot baskets and defend their territory.

Compared to Wits, UJ showed strength in their offensive play. They had more successful shots, resulting in a 23-13 lead by the eight minute of the game.

Wits’ coach Willie Matlakala said: “We started the game very well defensively and managed to restrict UJ scoring a lot in the first quarter.”

In the second quarter, the Lady Bucks made several mistakes and didn’t get back to defence quickly enough to prevent UJ from entering the lay-up lane. That also made it harder for Wits to catch up. UJ led 50-18 at the end of second quarter.

Matlakala said Wits lacked confidence on offense as they were “throwing the ball and not looking” when they made attempts to score.

The third quarter saw UJ increase their control of the game where they were shooting baskets and catching rebounds if they missed shots. Wits tried to stay in the game despite them having fewer substitutes as several players were injured from previous games.

The score at this point in the game was 67-30 in favour of UJ.

UJ acting captain Rachel Makoni said both teams played aggressively and that her team ran well during the game but could improve on their offense and defence.

By the end of the fourth quarter, the score was 82-44.

Matlakala said: “UJ played well and organised the whole game and deserve the win … We have to work on finishing close to the basket, as we created a lot of scoring opportunities but did not convert them.”