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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Sophomore Sauda Ntaconayigize represents Africa in global basketball tournament

Sophomore Sauda Ntaconayigize drives down the court in the Globl Jam tournament. (Photo courtesy of Sauda Ntaconayigize ’26)

For eight days this summer, while most of her teammates traveled to campus for summer workouts, sophomore guard Sauda Ntaconayigize played for Team Africa in the under-23 women’s bracket of the Canadian Globl Jam Tournament.

The tournament, an international basketball showcase featuring players from around the world, took place in Toronto, Canada in mid-July. Ntaconayigize, who is from Quebec, Canada, first heard of the opportunity from one of her old coaches.

“They were looking for Canadian girls of African origin,” Ntaconayigize explained. “They had their roster almost all filled up, but they were missing about three girls.”

On the women’s side, the tournament featured four teams representing Canada, the United States, Puerto Rico and Africa, respectively. Ntaconayigize’s team represents the Basketball African League (BAL), an NBA-sponsored league featuring teams from across Africa currently in its third year.

Notably, this tournament marks the first time a women’s team has represented the BAL. “It was really neat to do that,” Ntaconayigize said. “They want to do more for women’s sports in Africa, so it meant a lot to me to represent that.”

Additionally, Ntaconayigize is proud to have represented Burundi, her family’s country of origin.

“I live in Canada, so I don’t really have the opportunity to play for something that’s for Burundi or Africa in general,” she said. “That was a big deal for me.”

Ntaconayigize enjoyed the chance to get to know her teammates, all of whom came from diverse backgrounds. “Most of [my teammates] have played in the U.S. but live in Africa, so learning about how they got to the US and their journey was very interesting.”

In addition to the time spent together practicing and playing, the team traveled together to visit the Toronto Raptors facility, went out to restaurants to eat team dinners and spent time socializing with members of other teams in the hotel lounge.

After practices and scrimmages, the team played four official games throughout the week. Though Ntaconayigize plays shooting guard at Lafayette, they needed a point guard, so she stepped into the new role.

“I had never really played point guard at that level,” Ntaconayigize explained. “It was hard for me at first, but I feel like I learned a lot from having to step out of my comfort zone.”

Though the team remained winless in the tournament, Ntaconayigize feels proud of her performance. She scored 28 points over the course of four games, with her highest scoring performance of 12 points coming in the bronze medal game when Team Africa fell to Puerto Rico by a score of 77-67. Ntaconayigize also contributed three rebounds and six assists to the team’s effort in their final game.

If given the opportunity, Ntaconayigize would be happy to play in the tournament again.

“If they call me back, I would love to do it again,” she said. “It was an amazing experience.”

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About the Contributor
Madeline Marriott, Editor-in-Chief
Maddie (she/her) is a senior English major with a Government & Law minor. As the Editor-in-Chief, a Mentor Writing Associate, a Senior Student Contributor for Lafayette Communications, a Communications Intern for the Office of Sustainability, co-founder and Vice President of English Club, and a Senior Interviewer for Lafayette Admissions, no writing happens on campus without her knowing about it. Her Google Calendar would make your head spin. She is a die-hard Swiftie and Phillies fan, a collector of tote bags, and an avid Goodreads and Letterboxd user. She smokes cigars and uses an old-timey typewriter and notepad in the newsroom.

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