Nigeria’s women’s basketball team, D’Tigress, kicked off their 2024 FIBA Olympic Qualifying tournament (FIBAOQT) with a crucial win, defeating arch-rivals Senegal 72 – 65 in Antwerp, Belgium on Thursday evening.
It was indeed one for the books as the reigning African champions fought from a losing position to produce a spotless fourth-quarter performance which earned the team a deserved win over the Senegalese ladies.
Rena Wakama’s D’Tigress started the game on the front foot to lead 20-18 in the first quarter but trailed Senegal 37-46 at the end of the second quarter. A lead the opponents maintained (57-49) at the end of the third quarter.
The D’Tigress switched it up in the final quarter, going on an 11-0 run to stay in control of their own destiny and keep the game in their favour.
Amy Okonkwo, the 2023 Afrobasket MVP showed up and showed out. She brought much-needed intensity throughout the game, especially in the final quarter when it was needed most. She had 38 mins of action and finished the game with 21 points – 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, and made 9 of 10 free throws attempted.
Sarah Ogoke, another player who has been part of the team for a while now, also brought her expereince to the court as she finished the game with 11 points and 5 assists.
With this result, the reigning African champions stay top of Group A in the FIBAOQT as they move a step closer to qualification.
“It was beautiful as a coach to see them come together and fight back when things weren’t going their way,” D’Tigress coach, Rena Wakama said after the match.
D’Tigress play USA next on Friday evening and will hope to clinch their Olympic qualification ticket at the FIBAOQT ongoing in Belgium.