Nigeria’s senior women’s basketball team, D’Tigress have qualified for the quarter-final of the World Cup after a nervy 57-56 victory over Greece earlier today at the ongoing FIBA Women’s World Cup in Spain.
Emmanuoela Fasoula led all scorers with 18 points, while Evelyn Akhator and Ezinne Kalu both scored 14 points to lead Nigeria and Atonye Nyingifa also reached in double figures as D’Tigress continued their impressive march in the competition.
Speaking to fiba.com, Adaora Elonu, who is a EuroLeague Women regular and has WNBA minutes to her name was excited by the ride as Nigeria rack up more records
“We didn’t know what to expect from the World Cup as none of us had been here – it’s just a ride that we’re taking,” she confessed. “I’m happy for us, because we’ve been through a lot and our motto was to stay together and we stayed together.
“Greece is a really tough team. I don’t know how we pulled it off, but I’m beyond happy and proud. It ranks really high in my career (as a win) just because of this group of girls. They are my family.
“The national team is who you are and your culture. It just resonates so much stronger than any other team – not to take anything away from any other team.
“But here, the girls, what we’ve been through and what we’ve had to fight through just to get here, preparations, treatment – it’s been really hard.
“But the way that we stick together and have fun off the court, on the court, this is just a great moment.”
Elonu was also quick to hand credit to coach Hughley for the way he has galvanized the unit on the floor for this global test.
“Yeah I guess we can give the coach some credit,” she laughed. “It has been a whirlwind. I can’t stress enough how hard it’s been but we have persevered. The coach has stuck with us, he has believed in us and we believed in ourselves.”
“Playing USA does sound really nice,” Elonu said. “I don’t know what to expect, but we’re just going to keep pushing. We go with the same mentality. As a player, as a competitor, you have to go with the same mentality.
“We’re not here, you know, just being happy to still be here. This is a new experience, but we want to put on the best show and performances that we can”.
They became the first African team to qualify for the quarter final of a FIBA Women’s World Cup and first African team to win three straight games.
They join four group leaders and playoff qualifiers, Japan in Friday’s quarter finals and will face USA in the next round on Friday at San Cristobal de La Laguna, Santiago Martin Arena.