The finale of the 2023 FIBA Women’s AfroBasket championship ended yesterday with team Nigeria coasting home with the trophy.
The Nigerian national women’s basketball team, D’Tigress, displayed great dominance by defeating Senegal with a scoreline of 84-74, securing their fourth consecutive title in Africa.
Nigeria’s remarkable achievement extended their winning streak to an impressive 23 games, making them only the second team to achieve four consecutive titles, following in the footsteps of Senegal.
The last time Nigeria tasted defeat in the Women’s AfroBasket was back in 2015 when they were defeated by Cameroon in the semifinals.
Throughout the tournament, D’Tigress showcased their tenacity and skill under the guidance of their new coach, Rena Wakama.
In the semifinals, they overpowered the hosts, Rwanda, with a commanding 79-48 victory.
Prior to that, they had to overcome a tough quarterfinal matchup against Mozambique, prevailing with a 59-52 scoreline.
The championship final was a highly contested affair from the start. Amy Okonkwo opened the scoring for D’Tigress, but Senegal quickly took a 4-2 lead.
Elizabeth Balogun’s three-pointer helped Nigeria regain the advantage, and they finished the first quarter with a 19-10 lead, firmly holding on to their position throughout the contest.
In the second quarter, D’Tigress continued to apply pressure on Senegal with stellar performances from players like Tomi Taiwo, Ifunaya Okoro, and Sarah Ogoke, each contributing three points. The Nigerian team went into halftime with a comfortable 12-point lead, up 43-31.
However, Senegal staged a strong comeback in the third quarter, going on a 10-4 run after the break. They outscored D’Tigress 13-4 in that quarter, raising some concerns as Nigeria had experienced similar challenges in their previous games.
Despite the intense competition, D’Tigress showed their determination in the fourth quarter, led by their captain, Sarah Ogoke, who played a crucial role in regaining a 10-point lead.
The game remained close, but Nigeria managed to stay ahead, eventually emerging victorious with a final score of 84-74.
This marked the fourth encounter between Nigeria and Senegal in the championship, with Nigeria emerging triumphant on all four occasions.
Their previous victories over Senegal came in 2005 (64-57), 2017 (65-48), and 2019 (60-55).
With this impressive win, D’Tigress solidified their position as a dominant force in African women’s basketball, showcasing their talent and determination on the continental stage.