Nigeria’s women’s basketball team, D’Tigress, on Saturday confirmed their place in the 2020 Olympics Games in Tokyo despite losing to host-Serbia in their second group game at the ongoing FIBA Olympic Games Qualifying Tournament 64-70 points.
Mozambique’s quest to qualify ahead of Nigeria suffered a heavy knock when they lost 49-124 against current world champions the USA.
The Nigeria Basketball Federation becomes the only Nigerian sports federations with two national teams at the Olympics.
Being in command of the first quarter which they won 22-21pts, their good works were undone in the 2nd and 3rd quarters as their inability to convert their chances saw Serbia work their way back into contention winning 22-12 and 16-12 to open a decent lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Nigeria’s senior women national team tried to rally back in the last quarter after cutting down the deficit to just 4 points with less than two minutes to go, but two successive turnovers by Ezinne Kalu put halt to their momentum.
Although they picked the last quarter, 18-11, it was a case of too little too late against the hosts who on the back of vociferous home support stood their ground to see out the game.
Kalu led the charge for Nigeria with 20points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals while Promise Amukamara scored 15points, 4 rebounds on the night.
Team captain, Adaora Elonu weighed in with 9points of her own as well as 6rebounds.
D’Tigress recorded 68.75% conversion rate from 16 free throw attempts, 38.98% from field-goal attempts and 41.03% success from the three-point shooting line which summed up the difficulties they encountered against the Serbians who are currently ranked 7th in the world.
On Sunday, Nigeria will take on USA in their last group game which is effectively a dead rubber and has no effect on the 2020 Olympics qualification.