By Babatunde Ogunrinde
Nigeria’s senior national women basketball team, D’Tigress, on Sunday emerged champions of the 2021 FIBA Women’s AfroBasket Championship by defeating Mali 70-59 in Yaounde.
D’Tigress’s victory in the Cameroonian capital city makes it the third consecutive one for them, having won the championship the 2017 and 2019 editions.
The team, who are now unbeaten in three championships, led from the beginning of the game and but for a few moments never looked back in dominating game proceedings.
They won the first quarter 22-11, but lost the second one 9-13, even though they still led the game with seven points into the long break.
D’Tigress returned from the break to win the third quarter 28-14 to extend their lead to 21 points.
It meant they could afford to remove their foot from the throttle in the fourth quarter, which they lost 11-21, and still maintain an 11-point lead to win the game.
Victoria Macaulay was their top performer with 15 points, three rebounds, one assist and three blocks, while Ify Ibekwe recorded 10 rebounds and Ezinne Kalu four assists.
Earlier in the day, hosts Cameroon had won the third-place match by beating Senegal 53-49.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the title win has earned D’Tigress qualification for the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Sydney, Australia.