By Kunle Adedoyin
The Nigeria women national basketball team, D’Tigress, have successfully defended the FIBA Women’s AfroBasket title it won two years ago.
In a keenly-contested final match played on Sunday at the magnificent Dakar Arena with almost 15,000 fans watching, the Nigerian women beat host Senegal 60-55 to win back-to-back continental titles.
Senegal, backed by the usual vociferous cheering crowd could not tur the table against the defending African champions as D’Tigress held their own.
With Sunday’s feat, D’Tigress became the first team to win back-to-back FIBA Women’s AfroBasket titles since Angola followed up their 2011 triumph with another in 2013.
To make it to the final, Nigeria eased past Mali, 79-58, in Friday’s first semifinal while Senegal had to work extra hard to overcome a fearless and determined Mozambique team, 60-57, to return to the championship title final game for the third time in a row.
Both Nigeria and Senegal who were definitely the best teams in the 12-team tournament confirmed their prowess by making it to the final after four wins in as many games.
Nigeria defeated Tunisia (75-26), Cameroon (106-39), DR Congo (79-46) and Mali (79-58) by an average of 42.5 points while Senegal beat Cote d’Ivoire (77-36), Egypt (85-47), Angola (88-54) and Mozambique 60-57 by an average of 29 points.
After losing to Nigeria two years ago, not once but twice in Bamako, 12-time African champions Senegal were hoping to become the first team to win the tournament at home since the D’Tigress claimed the 2005 continental in Abuja.
With D’Tigress successfully completing their mission, attention will now shift to the male team, D’Tigers that are meant to compete at the FIBA World Cup in China once the needed funds are provided.