D’Tigress survived a final quarter scare and held their own to see off fellow Africans Mali 74-69 to book the final Group B spot for the Women Basketball World Cup billed to hold in Australia this year.
It was a game of two quarters each as it ended 20-22, 22-13, 22-9, 9-25. Nigeria won the second and third while Mali won the first and fourth quartersFollowing on from the euphoria of their historic win against France, they repeated that feeling of joy, but also mixed with a palpable sense of relief by completing a 73-69 victory against continental rivals Mali
Coasting with a 21-point lead, Nigeria almost self-destructed as Mali turned up the defensive pressure, dragging it back to a one-shot game inside the last minute. However, Nigeria managed to cling on and seal back-to-back appearances at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup.
“I think fatigue set in and only having one point guard made it tough against a team in survival mode,” reflected Nigeria head coach, Otis Hughley Jr. after the final buzzer had soundedBut seriously, hats off to Mali and their undying effort. Credit to their coach who did such an amazing job and Mali almost flipped the script.”
But our girls took the punch and we’re off to Sydney – we’re just happy about that,” he added.