African Champions D’Tigress retained their FIBA Women’s Afrobasket title after a nail-biting win over host Senegal in front of a raucous crowd at the Dakar Arena on Sunday.
The D’Tigress had to dig deep to beat Senegal 60-55 in their toughest game of the tournament.
Evelyn Akhator scored 14 points, 9 rebounds and 2 steals, Ezinne Kalu had 13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals while Promise Amukamara added 12 points including 3 pointers in the game.
Nigeria who were in control in the first three quarters led by 11 points at the end of the third quarter 48-37 but Senegal rallied back with a 12-0 run in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter to lead by 1 point (49-48).
D’Tigress were forced to turn over the ball 18 times and failed to covert their free throws converting just 13/31 in the game. Senegal however committed more turn overs 26 and shot 14/22 from the line.
While Nigeria tried to get back in the lead late on, Senegal tied the game thrice in the last 3 minutes of the game.
With 47 seconds remaining, the D’Tigress shot 3 of 6 from the free throw. Despite a second foul throw miss by Evelyn Akhator with 19 seconds left, she got the offensive rebound as Nigeria ran down the clock to retain their title for the second time in history.
Astou Traore had 13 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals while Mame-Marie Sy Diop contributed 12 points and 5 rebounds for Senegal.
Meanwhile, Ezinne Kalu was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament and was also named in the top 5 alongside her teammate Evelyn Akhator. Others are Astou Traore of Senegal, Touty Gandega of Mali and Mozambique’s Leia Dongue.
The D’Tigress are four time champions of the FIBA Afrobasket Women 2019 in 2003, 2005, 2017 and 2019.
Earlier in the day, Mali saw off Mozambique 66-54 to win bronze for the second edition in a row.