The Nigerian national women’s basketball team, D’Tigress, began their title defence in the 2023 Women’s AfroBasket tournament with a resounding victory against the Democratic Republic of Congo, Saturday PUNCH reports.

The match took place at the BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda, on Friday.

In a dominant display, D’Tigress secured a convincing 69-35 win over their Congolese opponents. Despite the victory, it was evident that the team is still working on their chemistry and team bonding, considering the relatively fresh lineup put together just before the competition.

D’Tigress, coached by newly appointed Rena Wakama, displayed their prowess in all four quarters of the game. They kicked off strongly, taking a 16-8 lead in the first quarter. Although they faced some resistance in the second and third quarters, narrowly winning 13-10 and 17-14, respectively, the Nigerian ladies finished strong, outscoring DR Congo 23-3 in the final quarter, sealing a massive 34-point victory.

The defending champions are on a remarkable 19-0 unbeaten streak since 2015 and are eyeing an unprecedented fourth consecutive title, a feat not achieved since Senegal’s dominance in the 1970s. However, this time around, the competition promises to be more challenging, as the revamped lineup will face strong opposition from all teams in the tournament.

Before the competition, the Nigerian Basketball Federation overhauled the D’Tigress squad. Rena Wakama took charge as the new head coach, and the final roster was selected following open tryouts held in Chicago, Lagos, and Abuja. This decision saw some top players, including Adaora Elonu, the captain during the 2021 Afrobasket triumph, and others like Promise Amukamara, Ezinne Kalu, Victoria Macaulay, and Ify Ibekwe, miss the cut, leading to their retirement from the team in protest.

D’Tigress will be looking to continue their winning streak as they face Egypt in their next group game on Monday, July 31. With their impressive track record in the competition, having won the last three editions, they aim to add another title to their name and reaffirm their status as one of Africa’s basketball powerhouses.

The 28th edition of the FIBA Women’s AfroBasket will run from July 28 to August 6 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *