The dominance of Nigeria continued at the FIBA Women’s AfroBasket as they won their second straight title against Senegal 60-55 in a tightly contested Final on Sunday night at the magnificent 15,000-seater Dakar Arena.
D’Tigress, who registered a perfect five-game unbeaten run at the biennial competition, looked perfect all tournament on their way to win their fourth African title.
Head coach Otis Hughley Jr and his side ensured that Nigeria become only the second team to defend their title having won it in 2003 and defended it at home in Abuja in 2005.
Their unbeaten run in the competition also meant that D’Tigress have won 13 games on the bounce stretching back to the 2017 AfroBasket. They also secured qualification to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifiers where they will face Congo DR and Mozambique in Group A in November.
D’Tigress started the game on top of the proceedings and led both the first and second quarters to enter the half time break with a 32-24 lead and even though Senegal made a strong comeback in the third quarter to tie the game at 54-up with 2:24 to play in the last quarter, D’Tigress dug deep to eventually win the coveted trophy.
“We have been here before. We prepared ourselves as though every game would be like this. It is just that the previous games did not give us live training outside of playing ourselves so when that came, we had already been programmed. It is entrenched in our DNA to be ready for a tight game, make smart decisions and take care of the ball and that is what we did,” head coach Hughley Jr told FIBA media after the game.
Evelyn Akhator scored 14 points and made nine rebounds and her amazing performance throughout the tournament earned her a place in the Tournament Five.
Her teammate Ezinne Kalu will smile her way back home after being named the undisputed TISSOT MVP as she joined Akhator in the Tournament Five.
Astou Traore stood out for Senegal with 13 points and six rebounds to earn her place in the Tournament Five deservedly so.
Earlier in the day, Mali saw off Mozambique 66-54 to win bronze for the second edition in a row much to the distress of the southern Africans who put in a good shift this tournament.
Touty Gandega, who inspired Mali with 12 points and six assists, earned her way to the Tournament Five for guiding her side to the podium.
On the other hand, Leia Dongue scored a game-high 22 points and five rebounds but her efforts were not enough to help Mozambique win a medal at this tournament.