The Nigeria national women’s basketball team, D’Tigress, on Saturday in the final of the 2023 FIBA Women’s AfroBasket tournament beat Senegal 84-74 in a thrilling encounter to emerge champions of Africa for the fourth consecutive time, PUNCH Sport Extra reports.
The victory means Nigeria became only the second team ever after Senegal to win four consecutive titles and did so in style by extending their unbeaten run to 23 games.
The last time Nigeria lost a game in the Women’s AfroBasket was in 2015 against Cameroon in the semi-finals.
After struggling to beat Mozambique 59-52 in the quarter-finals to set up a last-four showdown with the hosts, Rwanda — whom they had defeated in their previous two meetings 2009 and 2011, the champions outclassed hosts Rwanda 79-48 in the semi-finals on Thursday.
They continued with their fine display under new coach Rena Wakama with a victory over Senegal.
Despite getting the first basket through Amy Okonkwo, the D’Tigress fell behind as Senegal led 4-2 before Elizabeth Balogun got three points that put them ahead again.
Wakama’s team refused to relinquish their lead throughout the encounter with the first quarter ending 19-10 in favour of Nigeria.
The Senegalese settled better in the second quarter but met resistance from their opponents with Tomi Taiwo, Ifunaya Okoro and Sarah Ogoke all netting three points for the D’Tigress.
After the second quarter, D’Tigress held a 12-point lead to the locker room as the half ended 43-31.
It was a good start from Senegal in the third quarter as they had a 10-4 run after the break. They outscored Nigeria 13-4 forcing D’Tigress to call for a timeout.
Like in the previous games, the D’Tigress third quarter raised some eyebrows as they were outscored by their opponents with the quarter ending 62-57.
It was a good start from the champions in the fourth quarter with captain Ogoke driving the team as they restored their 10-point lead.
It was a tightly contested affair but D’Tigress held on as the game ended 84-74.
The meeting on Saturday was the fourth time both countries have battled each other with Nigeria claiming victory on all the occasions.
The first encounter time they faced off was in 2005 with a 64-57 win in favour of the champions, they met again in 2017 and it was another 65-48 victory for them before another 60-55 win for the D’Tigress in 2019.