The Nigeria national women’s basketball team, D’Tigress, have emerged champions of Africa again following their thrilling 84-74 win over Senegal in the final of the 2023 FIBA Women’s Afrobasket tournament.
Saturday’s victory by D’Tigress is historic as the Nigerian Ladies have become only the second team ever after Senegal to win four consecutive titles.
After waiting for 12 solid years with no title to show for their efforts, D’Tigress ended the drought as they were crowned champions in 2017.
The team then followed up with victories in 2019, 2021 and now 2023 in amazing fashion.
Truly, not many gave this set of D’Tigress a chance going into this tournament as the team is largely made of ‘rookies’ except for one or two experienced players.
However, right from their first game against Congo DR, the coach Rena Wakama tutored side have continually shut down critics
After blowing away hosts Rwanda in the semi-final, D’Tigress had sent a message they are going for the top prize and that was what they did in Saturday’s final at the BK Arena in Kigali.
Amy Okonkwo set the tone for D’Tigress in Saturday’s final getting the team the first two points in the first quarter.
D’Tigress controlled the first quarter winning it 19-10 and still had the upper hand in the second quarter though the margin was narrower; winning it 24-21.
With a 43-31 point lead at half time, D’Tigress were halfway through to achieving their target.
But as one would expect, the Senegalese Ladies came fighting back after half time and they indeed won the third quarter; 26-19 to reduce Nigeria’s lead going into the final quarter to just five points.
With all to play for in the last quarter, D’Tigress stepped up their game when it mattered most and they were able to fend off the stiff challenge from the Senegalese ladies.
D’Tigress won the nervy last quarter 22-17 and effectively won the game 84-74.
Interestingly, the coach of D’Tigress, Wakama is the first female coach to win the Afrobasket title and with her in charge, many believe there is room to dream of bigger things in the days ahead; especially with the Olympic qualifiers around the corner.
Source : PREMIUMTIMES