…We’re ready to play for each other and for the country – Amy Okonkwo
By Maxwell Kumoye and Mishael Emmanuel
Nigeria’s senior female national basketball team D’Tigress will know their quarter final opponent on Tuesday after the qualification match between Mozambique and Cote D’Ivoire at the 2023 FIBA Women’s Afrobasket Championship.
D’Tigress secured their passege into the last eight of the championship with a comfortable 83-65 points victory over Egypt on Sunday at the BK Arena in Kigali the Rwandan capital.
Amy Okonkwo had a stellar performance with 29 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assist and 3 steals. She also produced a perfect record from the free-throw line, scoring 11 out of 11.
Murjanatu Musa with 18 points, and Nicole Enabosi with 10 contributed to the 18 points winning margin.
D’Tigress took the first two quarters 18-10, 24-13 but lost the third quarter 14-19, however coach Rena Wakama and Tigress wrapped up the encounter with 27-23 points. Nigeria scored 20 points – almost a quarter of the team’s total for the day – from Egyptian loose balls and D’Tigress bench accounted for 68 points.
In their first game of the championship D’Tigress knock down Democratic Republic of Congo 69-35.
D’Tigress forward, Amy Okonkwo has this to say after the game: “Everything the coach says motivates us. We came for the win, and we knew we’d had a target painted on our backs. We have a standard that we play to and we’ve been trying to establish a new standard with the new coach. We stepped on the court for each other and we’re ready to play for each other and for the country. I think we can improve on our turnovers. We have had way too many. We also need to improve on our shooting but I think we should continue to instill confidence in our shooters so they can improve too.”
Host Rwanda, Cameroon and Mali are the other teams that are through to the quarter finals so far.
Rwanda topped group A, Cameroon were the Lionesses of group B, Mali inflicted the second defeat on 11 times champions, Senegal 72-49 to lead group C while D’Tigress with their scentilating performance head group D.
Nigeria will now play either Cote D’Ivoire or Mozambique in the last eight. Cote D’Ivoire finished third in group A while Mozambique ended the group phase as second in group B.
The Cote D’Ivoire game against Mozambique comes up on Tuesday just like the clash between Egypt and Senegal. Angola takes on Guinea while Democratic Republic of Congo have a date to keep with Uganda that stunned Senegal on Match Day 1, 85-83.
Senegal, Congo and Guinea are yet to record a win in the championship.