Yesterday, D’Tigress delivered an emphatic performance, defeating hosts Rwanda 70-50 at the BK Arena, securing their spot in the 2023 FIBA Women’s AfroBasket tournament final.
In the much-anticipated showdown on Saturday, they will face either Senegal or Mali. Amy Okonkwo once again led the charge, registering an impressive 23 points and ten defensive rebounds. Olaoluwatomi Taiwo contributed 12 points, while Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah and Elizabeth Balogun each scored 10 points.
Dominating from the start, Nigeria amassed 22 points in both the first and second quarters, taking an imposing 44-18 lead into the third quarter. Although Rwanda managed to win the third quarter 17-14, D’Tigress swiftly roared back in the fourth quarter, sealing a stunning 31-point victory with a final score of 79-48.
This triumph extended Nigeria’s unbeaten record to 23 games, putting them within reach of securing a historic fourth consecutive title. Additionally, Coach Rena Wakama’s exceptional leadership led her to become the first woman to guide a team to the final of a FIBA Women’s AfroBasket tournament.
Coach Wakama’s impact on the team has been extraordinary despite the numerous changes. Under her guidance, the team has been on a relentless path to victory. In a post-match press conference, she credited the players for their unwavering belief and empowerment. Her close age proximity to the players has played a crucial role in fostering trust and belief among the team members. Having been in their shoes not too long ago, she has been able to inspire and empower them effectively.
The 2023 D’Tigress is a different team from the one that won in 2021, but the players continue to believe in one another, pushing each other to achieve continued success. Coach Wakama called upon five players from the victorious 2021 D’Tigress roster, including Kunaiyi-Akpannah, Okonkwo, Murjanatu Musa, Sarah Ogoke, and Nicole Enabosi.
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