President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Nigeria’s senior women basketball team, D’Tigress on their victory at the 2021 FIBA Afrobasket Women’s Championship in Cameroon.
According to a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media & Publicity, Garba Shehu, the president was extremely delighted to see the Nigerian team excel over and over again on the regional and world stages, demonstrating that with hard work, resilience and dedication, victory is sure.
“President Buhari joins Nigerians in celebrating the unique achievements of the winning team, praying that the discipline and talent which made them three-time Africa champions in a row, will inspire more breakthroughs in their careers,” the statement read.
The Nigerian team beat Mali 70-59 to be crowned champions of the 2021 edition in Yaounde, Cameroon. They won the previous editions in 2017 and 2019.
The defending champions have been impressive all through the tournament and stayed focused on their objective of breaking records in the final against Mali.
They won the first quarter 22-11 but the Malians bounced back to take the second quarter 13-9 to make it a tight contest at half-time.
In the third quarter, it was the D’Tigress show. Captain Fantastic, Adaora Elonu, Victoria Macaulay and Ezinne Kalu worked so well with the team and they won 28-14. In the 4th quarter, coach Otis Hughley’s team sustained the momentum and with four minutes remaining, they will enjoy a 20-point lead over their opponents.
Mali put up a late fight to win the 4th quarter 21-11 and reduced the deficit to 11 points. Macaulay emerged Nigeria’s top performer with 15 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and 3 blocks. Mariam Coulibally posted 13 points and 9 rebounds to finish as top performer for Mali.
Elonu and Kalu were made the tournament’s All-Star 5. The hardworking captain fantastic, Elonu was voted the MVP of the tournament.
This is Nigeria’s 5th Afrobasket title with previous successes in 2003 and 2005.
The D’Tigress have also qualified for the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Australia.