The D’Tigress of Nigeria made history by closing out Turkey on Sunday for their first ever win at the FIBA Women’s World Cup. Their sights are now set on the quarterfinals but must get past AmeriCup runners-up Argentina.
Nigeria has never faced the 16th ranked team in the world or any other South American team for that matter. So this is as fresh a contest as it gets in the make or mar encounter between Africa and South America.
Nigeria’s 2 world cup appearances is quite meagre when compared to Argentina who have 9 and made their debut at the inaugural FIBA Women World Championship in 1953.
HEAD TO HEAD
Nigeria has no record of playing Argentina and vice versa. However, Argentina is 0-1 against African opposition, they lost to Senegal in the classification round in Germany 1998.
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KEYS TO WIN
Team Defense: Nigeria built on a brilliant defensive effort against Australia to stop the Turkish much praised attack in and out of the paint.
3points Scoring: It was the turn of Sarah Ogoke to hug the headlines after shooting 50% (4/8) from 3points field goal range and helping Nigeria shoot an overall 36% after shooting 14% against Australia.
Ogoke will need the likes of Aisha Mohammed, Evelyn Akhator, Adaora Elonu and Ezinne Kalu to put pressure in the paint so as to open up the wings and the top.
Shooting Rhythm: The Argentinians haven’t gotten into the form that got them to the 2017 AmeriCup final but have a dangerous arsenal of players who can score and score well on their day.
Defensive Discipline: Nigeria rode on 85% shooting from the free-throw line against Turkey and their (Turkey) Bigs, spending long minutes on the bench than running the hard wood. Argentina have to stay off foul trouble and maintain defensive discipline to have a fighting chance against an emerging Nigerian side.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Nigeria: Sarah Ogoke, Evelyn Ahkator, Aisha Mohammed
Turkey: Macarena Rosset, Agoustina Burani, Melissa Greter.
Written by Femi Adefeso. Twitter : @IncredibleFemi