AFROBASKET WOMEN

Nigeria win fourth Women’s AfroBasket title in a row

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Temps de lecture : 3 mn đź•—

KIGALI (Rwanda) – Nigeria have become the first team to win four FIBA Women’s AfroBasket titles in a row over the last four decades thanks to an 84-74 win over Senegal on Saturday in Kigali, Rwanda.

Prior to Nigeria, Senegal was the last team to win four African titles in the 1970s.

D’Tigresses’ sixth continental title comes exactly 20 years after they conquered their very first African crown in 2003 in Maputo, Mozambique.

Amy Okonkwo was named the tournament’s MVP

TURNING POINT: D’Tigresses muted off Senegal’s playmaker Cierra Dillard and used their shooting prowess to determine their Women’s AfroBasket destiny.

After trailing by double digits, Senegal closed the gap to five points (69-64) in the fourth quarter, but that was the closest the Lionesses could get to threaten Nigeria as the now four-time African champions regained control of the game, and closed it out superbly to remember everyone who rules women’s basketball in Africa.

HEROES: Nigeria’s roster need to be hailed. Three of their five starting players finished with double digits to their credits. Elizabeth Balogun sank 15 points, Sarah Ogoke added 13 points, and Amy Okonkwo contributed 14 points.

Also making this list are Ifunaya Okoro, who led Nigeria in scoring with 16 points, while Munjanatu Musa hit a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds to contribute to the D’Tigresses’ victory.

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STATS DON’T LIE : Musa and Okoro contributed 26 of the 34 points produced by Nigeria’s bench, while Senegal’s only produced 14 in this exercise.

And out-rebounding Senegal 44-31, with 28 at the defensive end, seems to have been the right formula to keep the Teranga Lionesses at bay.

BOTTOM LINE : Nigeria have made history in so many ways in Kigali.

Besides winning their fourth African title in a row, Nigeria closed this year’s Women’s campaign unbeaten (5-0), which saw D’Tigresses extend their continental winning streak to 24-0, dating back to the 2015 Women’s AfroBasket Third-Place game in Yaounde.

Nigeria’s apparelled success has seen Rena Wakama become the first female head coach to win a Women’s AfroBasket title.

While some at first were doubtful about the D’Tigresses ability to protect their African title, they proved them wrong. And they did it with style.

THEY SAID: “The future is bright, the girls are young. Some of them are at their first Women’s AfroBasket. Making it to the Finals is no easy task. But they made it. And they know what it takes to reach the Finals. I need to congratulate them for what they did.” – Aya Traore, Senegal captain.

Rena Wakama

“We have a coach that believes in us. It has us fighting till the end, even in adversity. So we knew we had our destiny in our hands. Even when Senegal came back, we knew we had to step up, to keep together and we made it happen. I was playing in Mexico this summer, and I’m thankful to have the opportunity to come and lead. And I had the opportunity to lead the team. I told to myself that I was not coming to Kigali to lose anything. And being MVP is a huge honor.” –  Amy Okonkwo, tournament MVP.

“Against Mozambique, we were down by 10 or 12 points. I looked into their eyes, and they told me: “Coach, we’re not going to lose this game..”.. And they came back to win. That was the defining moment for me. It has been a long year for me. I asked God for a sign, and this trophy was the biggest of them all.” – Rena Wakama, Nigeria head coach.

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