It was a historic moment for the Nigerian Women Basketball Team “D’Tigress” on Sunday night as they defeated Mali 70-59 in the final of the 2021 Women’s AfroBasket, to be crowned Champions for the third time in a row.
Coming from two consecutive AfroBasket titles, the D’Tigress were poised to blow away the Malian at the Palais Polyvalent des Sports in Yaounde, Cameroon. From the blast of the whistle, it was clear that D’Tigress were up for it, going top with 22-11 in the opening quarter.
Victoria Macaulay was at her best in shooting, netting 13 points in six throws. D’Tigress missed loads of open shots which almost brought the Malians back into the game in the second quarter but they were able to go into the break with a seven-point.
D’Tigress came back stronger in the third quarter, dominating their opponent and increasing the gap to fourteen point even though Mali took the game to Nigeria in the fourth quarter but they couldn’t get the number of points needed to win the game as the quarter ended 21-11 to round up the game 70-59
Nigeria’s Macaulay was excellent throughout the tournament with an average of 10.4 points per game. The Spanish-based player alongside Ezinne Kalu and Sarah Ogoke are the only three players that have been with this team since 2013 and won three Women’s AfroBasket titles.
Four players in the Nigeria team finished the final with double figures. Macaulay takes the lead with 15 points, followed by Kalu and Ify Ibekwe with 13 points each, and the captain Adaora Elonu made 12 points. This was enough to earn the skipper the Most Valuable Player ( MVP) award and a place in the Tournament’s team.
Nigeria are now with five Women’s AfroBasket titles second behind Senegal, who have won it 11 times. D’Tigress now hope to take this winning momentum to the next competition which is the 2022 FIBA World Cup in Sydney, Australia.