Ezinne Kalu galvanizing the team in their game against Angola

Nigeria’s D’Tigress went on a 2-0 run at the ongoing AfroBasket Women’s championship in Yaounde, easily defeating Angola to book their passage into the quarterfinals of the competition, and well on course to successfully defend their title.

In a game that looked like it would be a banana peel for the defending champions, Nigeria made light work of the match, blowing out their opponents by 20pts and spreading buckets across the team to emerge unscathed, winning the contest by 85-65 points.

Having beaten Mozambique 67-50 in their first group B match, Nigeria worked hard to avoid the early jitters from that match where they trailed going into half, rather they got their noses in front against Angola, putting up a high scoring first quarter (31-18) to show their intent.

Five players finished on double digits for Nigeria, sharing the scoring burden across the team in an impressive team performance. For Nigeria, Ezinne Kalu led with a team high 12pts and 3asts, but it was the contributions from the likes of Oderah Chidom and Ify Ibekwe which made the difference. Chidom made 10pts and 6rebs, with the boisterous Ibekwe accounting for 9pts and 8rebs.

That’s what Angola lacked in their own team, not having many players take off some of the scoring burden from their star player, Italee Lucas who finished with a Game-high 19pts. Cristina Matiquite helped out a bit making 15pts, but they were the only players who made double digits for their team.

Although from what they have shown so far in Yaounde, Nigeria remains the overwhelming favourites to go on and retain their title, but there are other dark horses who could still surprise them in the knockout stage of the competition. Mali, Senegal, and the hosts Cameroon all won their opening two games of the Championships, and will get stronger as the competition progresses.

Nigeria will now play the winner of the second round match between Ivory Coast and Guinea on Thursday for a place in the semifinals of the competition.

Athletics coverage was a discovery, having to move away from regularly writing about Football. Although it was initially daunting, but now being an authority in it makes the past effort worthwhile. From travelling on the same international flight with Nigerian athletes, to knowing you could easily interview: World Record holder Tobi Amusan, then Ese Brume, I have cut my teeth in this beat earning the trust of Athletics sources. Formerly the Content Manager-Sports at Ringier media Nigeria, Chris is a Senior Sports writer, Photographer & Community manager at Making of Champions.


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