D’Tigress coach Otis Hughley said he is proud of his team’s performance against the United States of America and the tournament as a whole.
Speaking to the media in Tenerife after the 40-71 loss to the Americans, Hughley was full of praise for his girls.
“I love these girls. I have 2 biological daughters and I feel like I have 12 more daughters. I thought they fought really well in the first half. I think the difference in the game is who shot well. I thought we played exponentially above what we have. Our girls dug down until there was nothing left. I have never felt so happy after a 31-point loss,” Hughley said
One of the D’Tigress top performer against the US, Evelyn Akhator who was limited to just 8 points and 5 rebounds relished her time with the D’Tigress.
“I really love the team so much. It is my first year of playing for the national team and this is the best group ever. Our commitment and dedication is something special. I can’t wait to play with this group again. It is huge to come here from Nigeria and finish in the top eight of the competition.”
On her part, USA forward Breanna Stewarts said they were never scared of losing to Nigeria after they fell behind in the first quarter 9-17.
“It’s true that I haven’t had much experience of being in games representing USA basketball in which we were trailing in games with USA. However, I know enough as far as looking at WNBA games and there are situations where a team can go up and there’s still a lot of game left to play. So you stay in the moment.
Nigeria was going crazy and were very happy when they were up. But for us it was a case of staying even-keeled, making sure we continued to get stops and knowing that our offense was going to come to us. But I don’t think that we were that worried. With Sue (Bird) and Diana (Taurasi), they’re kind of a calming presence as far as making sure we are not freaking out because we’re down in the first five minutes.”
Stewart put up 19 points, 3 rebounds and 5 assists in the quarter final game against Nigeria.
Meanwhile, USA coach Dawn Staley revealed that they had to change their style of play to beat the D’Tigress.
“It was a hard fought game. Nigeria came out and pressured us and it bothered us probably in the first 20 minutes of the game, and then we made an adjustment in the style of play. We started making plays.
“Hats go off to Nigeria, but at the same time I am proud of the team for making the adjustments needed and turning it around in the first.”
The United States of America will play against the winner between Belgium and France in the semi final on Saturday.