Nigeria’s women basketball team, D’Tigress put up a spirited performance against eight time Olympic Champions and reigning World Champions, USA in their opening group game at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Having lost by 31 points to the World Champions less than two weeks ago, a more impressive performance was required from D’Tigress who didn’t disappoint losing 71-82; a 9 point game against the World number 1.
Nigeria had four players on double digits but Ezinne Kalu was the top performer with 16 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists. She was followed by Victoria Macaulay with 11 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists; while team captain Adaora Elonu and Promise Amukamara both finished with 10 points each.
D’Tigress began the game the more aggressive side opening a 7 point gap in the early stages of Q1 but the USA soon found their feet and made it a contest. At the end of Q1, it was Nigeria 20-17 USA thanks to a final second trey from Ify Ibekwe just before the sound of the buzzer.
Q2 began with Nigeria opening a five point lead against the US but everything soon went south as D’Tigress lost control of the game and found it difficult to make the baskets as the USA went on a 17-0 run and had opened a 20 point gap at the end of the third quarter.
D’Tigress however rallied back in the final quarter to win it 22-11, cutting the deficit to nine points. Although it was an impressive display overall, D’Tigress would however have to improve on their shooting having recorded a meagre 27% from the field against USA.
Next up for D’Tigress is France on Friday, 9:20am Nigerian time.