African champions D’Tigress will compete for a medal at the basketball event of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
As one of the top four teams from the 2019 AfroBasket tournament which they won, Nigeria’s senior basketball national team were among 8 teams that competed at the Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2020 in Belgrade, Serbia.
Drawn in Group A alongside the United States, Serbia and Mozambique whom Nigeria beat in their first game on 85-51 on Thursday, February 6.
It was Mozambique who started the brighter side and were in the lead (85-51) at the end of the first quarter but Nigeria bounced back to dominate the remaining quarters.
Promise Amukamara was the top performer for the D’Tigress with 14 points, five rebounds, three assists and five steals. Leia Dongue of Mozambique was, however, the top performer of the game with 16 points, five rebounds, two assists and three steals.
On Saturday, February 8, the D’Tigress took on host Serbia and lost 70-64. Nigeria took the first quarter 22-21 but lost out in the second and third before coming out tops in the fourth to lose the tight contest. Ezinne Kalu scored 15 points with four rebounds and one steal while Serbian Sonja Vasic finished as the top performer with 21 points, seven rebounds, one assist and one steal.
In their third and last game of the tournament, Nigeria lost out to the United States 71-76. D’Tigress won the first quarter but lost out in the remaining one.
It was Kalu again who led the scoring for Nigeria with 17 points. She also had four rebounds, eight assists, four steals and one block. United States’ Brittney Griner was the top performer of the game with 18 points, four rebounds and one block.
D’Tigress finished third in Group A behind the United States and Serbia and qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games.
It would be only the second time the D’Tigress will be qualifying for the Olympic Games after their maiden appearance at Athens 2004.
Nigeria is the only African country in the women’s basketball event of the 2020 Olympic Games.
With 16 points, 4.3 assists, Kalu made the All-Star 5 of the tournament.