Nigeria’s female basketball team, D’Tigress, defeated Senegal on Saturday to win the 2023 Afrobasketball championship.
Rena Wakama‘s team defeated the Senegalese 84-74 at the BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda, to win the women’s Afrobasketball title for the fourth time in a row. Nigeria has won the competition three times: in 2017, 2019, and 2021.
D’Tigress got off to a quick 19-10 lead, building a nine-point lead at the end of the first quarter in a difficult final.
The Senegalese kept it tight in the second quarter, with D’Tigress increasing their lead to 12 at the halftime break with a 24-21 score.
Senegal came out stronger in the second half, winning the third quarter 26-19 and cutting the margin to five points.
The fourth quarter was back and forth between the two strongest teams in the competition, with Senegal closing the lead but D’Tigress winning by ten points.
The girls had an excellent start but fell behind to the Senegalese in the third quarter but came back in style to win 84-74.
Amy Okonkwo who has been impressive during the tournament scored 14 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and assisted twice in 37 minutes.
In 23 minutes, Ifunaya Okoro had 16 points, four assists, and two steals while Elizabeth Balogun had 15 points, two assists, five rebounds, and two blocks in 35 minutes.
D’Tigress’ newly appointed Head Coach, Rena Wakama also became the first woman to lead a team to the Afrobasket title.
Interestingly, the Rivers-state-born coach took charge of the team in June and was able to rejuvenate a team who had lost the steam following a ban from basketball. They are ranked no. 1 in Africa and no. 16 in the world by FIBA.
It will be recalled the participation of D’Tigress at the 2023 Afrobasket Women’s tournament comes after a ban on basketball by former President Muhammadu Buhari prevented the team from competing at the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup.
It will be recalled that the D’Tigress had recorded a 69-35 against the Democratic Republic of Congo in the opening game of the 2023 Women’s Afro Basketball Championship on July 28.
Two days later, recorded an 83-65 win against a tough Egypt side at the BK Arena to earn a quarter-final clash with Mozambique.
On Wednesday, D’Tigress who are the defending champions recorded a hard-fought 59-52 victory against Mozambique which earned them the semi-finals clash with the hosts, Rwanda who they defeated 79-48.
D’Tigress will now compete for a place in the women’s basketball event at the 2024 Olympics.