D’Tigress’ Ezinne Kalu (left) and Atonye Nyingifa (second left) take on Argentina during their FIBA Women World Cup Group B final match at the City Arena, San Cristobal de La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain…yesterday. PHOTO: FIBA.
Nigeria yesterday defeated Argentina at the on-going FIBA Women World Cup to become the first African team to get to the business end of the world’s biggest ladies’ basketball event. The victory was expected following the D’Tigress’ exploits against Turkey on Sunday, but the manner of the Argentine team’s resistance was a big surprise to many followers of the game. But at the end, the D’Tigress won by 75 points to Argentina’s 70.
The Nigerians had before the game promised to avenge the Super Eagles’ defeat by Argentina at the Russia 2018 World Cup, but they had to do it in hard way. They won the first quarter by 19 to 13, lost the second by 13 to 16, lost the third by 18 to 19 and took the final quarter by 24 to 22.
While Sarah Ogoke was the go to lady in the victory over Turkey, Promise Amukamara came to the party ready to match everything Argentina’s best lady, Mellisa Paola Gretter threw at Nigeria.
Amukamara accounted for 16 points, two rebounds, two assists and three steals to Gretter’s 21 points, seven rebounds, four assists and one steal. With the game swinging forth and back, it was left for the coaches to bring their experience to bear and in Ottis Hughley, Nigeria had a manager ready to tweak the trends to suit D’Tigress’ quest for victory. Even when the Argentines stormed back to reduce Nigeria’s lead to just one point in the third quarter, D’Tigress pegged them back in the final quarter to win the game by 75 points to 70.
Earlier in the day, Africa’s second entry in the competition, Senegal lost to China 56 points to 75, but they still qualified for the second round of the competition.Nigeria will meet Greece by 2.00 p.m. today in one of the quarterfinals’ qualifying game, while Senegal will be up against hosts, Spain.
Only the group winners qualify automatically for the quarterfinals.