DAKAR (2013 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women) - Yacine Diop was named 2012 FIBA Africa U18 Championship for Women MVP as hosts Senegal knocked off Mali 55-50 for their first gold medal in 27 years. By reaching the final, both nations booked their spots in the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women.
Diop collected 7 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists in the final in Dakar and fellow All-Tournament Team member Aminata Kamara collected 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Mali took silver as they were led by center Aminata Traore, Mariam Kone and Fanta Guindo. Traore and Guindo both played for Mali at the 2012 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Ankara.
Traore, who won't turn 17 until October 7 but had 26 and 8 rebounds in Mali's 69-54 win over Egypt in the semi-finals, joined Diop and Kone on the All-Tournament side along with point guard Soraya Deghady from bronze medalists Egypt and Hamrouni Houda from fourth placed Tunisia.
Senegal head coach Birahim Gaye called the title - the nation's first U18 women's Africa crown since 1985 over Mozambique - a "thrilling moment".
"This is the fruit of a long process that comes to completion", said the coach.
"I am very happy and proud to play for my country and I would say this whenever the country selects me," said Diop, who will get a chance to play on the world stage next summer at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women.
Senegal and Mali booked spots 12 and 13 for the 16-team field at the July 18-28 tournament in Lithuania. Already into the championship are hosts Lithuania; fellow Europeans France, Russia, Serbia, Netherlands and Spain; FIBA Americas representatives United States, Brazil, Argentina and Canada; and Oceania champs Australia.
The remaining three berths will be decided on October 6 at the 2012 FIBA Asia U18 Championship for Women.