Nigeria’s senior female team D’Tigress booked the first FIBA World ticket from the African zone after advancing to the finals of the 2017 FIBA Women Afrobasket tournament when they defeated host-Mali in a hard fought semi-final game by 48-47 points.
It was Mali’s Tirera Meiya that led the scorer’s chat with 15 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds but it was not enough to upset a more technically balanced Sam Vincent-led Nigerian side who shared the scoring responsibility on the night.
D’Tigress co-captain, Kalu Ezinne steered the battle charge against the host scoring 11 points, 6 assists and catching 4 rebounds while
Nyingifa Atonye contributed 11 points, 2 assists and 4 rebounds to cap an unforgettable win for the team who last qualified for the finals of the Afrobasket in 2005 when Nigeria hosted the tournament.
Despite fouling out midway into the 4th quarter, Akhator Evelyn who was still instrumental to the team’s victory caught 10 rebounds and 5 points in the highly physical game.
Although it was the lowest scoreline the D’Tigress recorded so far in the competition, it was still enough to secure the maximum victory at the expense of the hosts who were left shell shocked.
Nigeria will hope to win their third Afrobasket title tournament later when they face Senegal (whom they defeated in their last group game) at the Palais Des Sports Salamatou, Maiga, Bamako.
The last time Nigeria won the tournament was in 2005 in Abuja when Nigeria hosted the 17th edition of the tournament between December 20 through 28.