Nigeria are the first team to qualify for the FIBA Women’s AfroBasket 2017 quarterfinals following their win over Egypt on Sunday at the Palais des Sports Salamatou Maiga in the Malian capital of Bamako.
Evelyn Akhator posted her first double double at the tournament to lead the Nigerian charge with 24 points and 13 rebounds as Sam Vincent’s side marched to their third straight win.
Jennifer Atonye Nyingifa posted another double double with 15 rebounds and 12 points while Ezinne Kalu and Sarah Ogoke added 18 and 13 points in that order.
This brings Nigeria’s win ratio to 3-0 at the biennial continental competition that has attracted 12 teams, the best in Africa.
Nigeria opened their account with an 80-69 win over Mozambique on Friday before seeing off Democratic Republic of Congo 84-47 the following day.
At the heart of this form is newly appointed head coach Sam Vincent who comes into this tournament with experience from his days with the women’s national team at the Greece 2004 Olympics.
Along with Vincent as part of the team management staff is 2005 FIBA Women’s AfroBasket Most Valuable Player Mfon Sunday Udoka and Makbule Amacheree who have been guiding the youthful side on a quest for greatness.
“We have a young team that can run the floor on both defense and offense so doing that is a plus for us. I just came out to play and try to get better every other day. I think me getting used to the plays and the court and getting the trust from my teammates really helped me,” Akhator stated.
Nigeria are firmly on top of Group B with six points but still have to play against Guinea and reigning champions Senegal.
Record champions Senegal overcame a stubborn Democratic Republic of Congo side 70-63 to maintain an unbeaten run at the ongoing FIBA Women’s AfroBasket 2017 in the Malian capital of Bamako.
Astou Traore once again led the scoring charts with a game high 19 points and eight rebounds to inspire the 12-time winners to their third consecutive win to go top of Group B.
With this victory, Senegal have secured a place in the Quarter-Finals and joined Nigeria and Angola who secured their slots earlier in the day.
Senegal bounced back from an early scare when DR Congo led 24-20 at the end of the first quarter to establish a three-point lead at the half-time break 40-37.
Led by center Bernadette Nyangiso, the three-time former African champions poised a challenge and kept Senegal on their toes but experience and pedigree came into play with Ndeye Sene and Oumoul Thiam shooting important three-pointers to keep their side in the lead.
DR Congo asked the kind of questions Senegal was yet to face at this competition and even though they won, Senegal coach Moustapha Gaye will have something to think about tonight.
“It was important to win today. It was a tough game but we did it. We are here to defend our title and we know it is going to be hard because all the teams want to beat us,” Traore explained.
“I think it is very important if I am into the game. If I score it is thanks to the team. My presence is very important for the group as I give them confidence. I always give hundred percent of myself to help my sisters,” she said.
Traore is Senegal’s leading scorer at the tournament with three game highs including 26points, 29 and 19 against Guinea, Mozambique and Democratic Republic of Congo in that order.
Hosts Mali got their groove back on when they defeated Cote d’Ivoire 61-39 to improve their win ratio to 2-1 in Group A and set one foot into the Quarter-Finals at the ongoing FIBA Women’s AfroBasket 2017 in the Malian capital of Bamako.
Center Naignouma Coulibaly registered a double double with 13 rebounds and 12 points to help her side secure their second win at the tournament, so important after their 68-59 loss to Angola on Saturday.
Point guard Touty Gandega and Kankou Coulibaly added 12 and 11 points respectively as Mali reminded everyone that they are title contenders playing in familiar territory.
“We worked hard today because we wanted to win this game. After yesterday’s loss, we realized that every game at this competition is going to be difficult so we went back and corrected our mistakes,” Coulibaly said.
Meanwhile, point guard Rosa Gala put up a remarkable performance scoring 13 points and picking five rebounds as Angola secured their place in the Quarter-Finals with a 62-55 win over Tunisia.
Fellow teammate Italee Lucas once again scored a game high 15 points to star for her side as Angola ticked one box on their to-do-list at this tournament.
Angola is now top of Group A with six points, one ahead of Mali who are tied with Cote d’Ivoire on points but the former has a plus minus of 51 compared to the Ivorians’ 28.
Mozambique recorded their first win of the tournament after securing a convincing 88-47 win over winless Guinea.
Nasir Sale was left with a grin on his face after his side finally crossed over to the winning side following losses to Nigeria 80-69 and Senegal 76-67.
Odelia Mafanela dominated the statistics board with 12 points and 11 rebounds while the ever dependable Leia Dongue scored a game high 18 points. Mozambique are out of the danger zone, at least for now.
They sit fourth in Group B with four points, one more than DR Congo and Guinea that are yet to win a game at the biennial competition.
Cameroon joined the list of first wins at the tournament with a sounding 92-42 victory over neighbors Central African Republic in Group A.
Abety Kossi Imbangueret scored an impressive game high 25 points but her efforts were not enough to help Central African Republic’s chances of making it to the last eight as they continued to grow faint.
On the other hand, Cameroon’s Ramses Lonlack scored 15 points while teammates Anne Marie Assena, Tia Weledji and Ade Achiri combined for 39 points.
Source ; FIBA