Nigeria’s senior female basketball team, D’Tigress will face a herculean task as they face Olympic champions, United State of America in the women’s preliminary round group B clash at the Siatama Super Arena today.
The US women who will be seeking their 50th consecutive Olympic victory are favoured to defeat D’Tigress whom they had defeated 93-62 in an exhibition game in Las Vegas before the Games began.
However, the Americans are beatable, having lost back-to-back matches against a group of WNBA All-Stars and the Australian national team in Las Vegas.
The Otis Hughley led D’Tigress are making their first Olympic appearance since 2004 in Athens where they lost all five group matches, before posting a classification match victory against the Republic of Korea to finish 11th out of 12 teams to become the first women’s African basketball team to win a game at the Olympics
Should the Nigerians lose to the Americans, they will still get to play two less daunting games against France and the host nation Japan.
However, the performance of the four-time Afrobaskeball champions today against the world’s foremost basketball nation could set a tone on how they will battle the French and Japanese in the remaining Group B fixtures.
Otis said they have played with these teams in the past and already have experience and information on how to handle them when the draws were conducted.
“We met USA and France at the last World Cup in Spain and again faced USA at the Olympics Qualifying Tournament in Serbia last year where we qualified for the Olympics.
“We are mindful of the threat these teams pose to us including Japan who are ranked 10th in the FIBA ranking. We are going to prepare adequately to ensure that when the time comes, we will be ready,” he told NBBF media then.