D’Tigress forward Amy Okonkwo has saluted coach Rena Wakama following the team’s impressive run at the 2023 FIBA Women’s AfroBasket in Rwanda.

Despite having a short time to prepare for the tournament, D’Tigress have weathered the storm in Kigali and will be playing in the quarter-finals on Wednesday (today) against Mozambique.

Nigeria reached the last eight after two comfortable wins in the group stage. They began with a 69-35 demolition of Dr Congo before seeing off Egypt 83-65.

Okonkwo has been instrumental for the defending champions, scoring 29 points, 13 rebounds and scoring all 11 free throws she got against Egypt.

She believes the exploit of the team is down to the coach.

“Everything the coach says motivates us. We came for the win, and we knew we had a target painted on our backs. We have a standard that we play to and we’ve been trying to establish a new standard with the new coach,” Okonkwo told FIBA.

“We stepped on the court for each other and we’re ready to play for each other and for the country. I think we can improve on our turnovers. We have had way too many. We also need to improve on our shooting but I think we should continue to instil confidence in our shooters so they can improve too.”

Wakama, a former national player, replaced Otis Hughley at the end of June and took charge of the team within few weeks to the start of the tournament.

Despite being in charge for only three weeks, Wakama oversaw the rebuilding of the team ahead of their African title defence.

D’Tigress won the AfroBasket consecutively in 2017, 2019 and 2021.

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