It’s not just a David and Goliath battle between Nigeria and Australia at this 2018 FIBAWWC in terms of the difference in the World rankings, 30 places, but in the size of the players that will run the hardwood in Tenerife, Spain.
Ranked 34th in the World, the African Champions, the D’Tigress of Nigeria will begin her campaign at the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup against former World Champions and world no. 4, Australia in Group B on Saturday. Only in her 2nd World Cup appearance the Nigerian’s women team will be seeking for her first ever win of the tournament against the Aussies.
The 2006 world champions, Australia, Bronze medalist on 3 occasions 1998, 2002 and the last tournament in Turkey in 2014 have all their eyes set on winning her 2nd World crown in Spain this year.
HEAD TO HEAD
Nigeria and Australia have never met in Women Basketball. It’s a clean slate for both teams, so history will be made with one team adding the big W to the win column against the other come today.
KEYS TO WIN
3 points scoring. Sarah Ogoke, Nkechi Akashili and Promise Amukamara will have to bring their snipers loaded because the paint will be clogged with a bigger Australian team on the defensive end to battle against. Nigeria will have to shoot a high percentage from behind the arc to give themselves a fighting chance in this one.
Team Interior Defence: TID will be key to stopping coincidentally Nigerian blood sisters in Aussie colours, 19 year old, 6 foot, 4 inches Ezi Magbegor and WNBA All time single game record scorer (54 points) Elizabeth Cambage who stands at 6′ 8″ , whose size and length put pressure down low in the Nigerian paint.
Inside Play: With the size advantage of the Aussies Forwards ranging from 6 foot 2 inches to about 6 foot 8 in the Front Court the likes of Bec Allen, Alex Bunton, Cayla George, Ezi Magbegor and Elizabeth Cambage will be targets for points in the paint against a Nigeria whose tallest player is 6 foot 3 inches Elo Edema.
Stretch Zone Defense: Coach Sandy Brandello knows her size advantage has its weakness, slow feet. In order to match-up the springly legs of the Nigerian guards who will have to rely more on transition and 3 pointers shooting on offense. Should the Nigerian snipers hit target early and consistently enough, then the former champions might be up for a shocker.
Players to watch
Nigeria: Adaora Elonu, Ezinne Kalu
Australia: Elizabeth Cambage, Ezi Magbegor
Written by Femi Adefeso. Twitter: @IncredibleFemi