Liz Cambage scored a game high 34 points as Australia beat Nigeria 86-68 in the opening game of the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup at the San Cristobal de La Laguna Santiago Martin Arena on Saturday.
Nigerian-born Cambage added 12 boards to make it a double-double and 5 blo in the game she played for 26 minutes.She had 14/22 FG and 75% from the free throw line.
Cambage spearheaded Australia’s attack and defence but was forced to commit 5 of 15 turnovers suffered by her team.
Despite the Opals leading for most part of the game, Nigeria kept the deficit at 11 points going to the break (42-31). A good third quarter from Nigeria (21-23) saw the gap reduced to 9 with Evelyn Akhator scoring 14 points after shaking off a low scoring first half.
Akhator made it 21 points at the end of the game, and 5 rebounds to go with it. The Besiktas center player made 7/13 FG and 7 of 8 from the free throw line in 27 minutes. While D’Tigress guard, Ezinne Kalu added 15 points and 3 rebounds with 2 of 6 from the deep.
D’Tigress however fell apart in the last quarter and could barely cope on defence. The Australians led the African champions by 19 points with 2:18 remaining, their biggest lead in the game (19-0). They were left to rue their misses from the Free throw line 24/34 and could only score 2 of 14 from the arc.
In the other Group B game, Turkey beat Argentina 63-37 to go second on the log.
Nigeria will next play Turkey at 8:30pm local time on Sunday while Argentina will take on Group B leaders, Australia by 11am.