Nigeria women’s basketball team, D’Tigress will tip off against 2023 FIBA Women’s AfroBasket host Rwanda for a place in the final, after they saw off Mozambique in the quarter-finals 59-52, to extend their winning streak in Africa.
Mozambique led at the break, but Nigeria eventually turned the tables around, outscoring Mozambique 18-10 in the third quarter to claim the win.
With Nigeria trailing by four points at half-time, they had to find a way to get back into the game.
When the opportunity occurred, Elizabeth Balogun seized the opportunity help Nigeria tie the contest at 40-40, before Amy Okonkwo gave the reigning champions a short but solid advantage.
Ifunaya Okoro scored from behind the arc to give Nigeria the lead definitely.
Mozambique tried to fight back, but they met with a resilient and combative Nigeria.
D’Tigress needed their heroes more than ever. Amy Okonkwo chipped in 17 points, Elizabeth Balogun contributed 12 points, and Sarah Ogoke finished just one point shy from a double digit. Nearly every Nigerian ended the game with at least two points to their credit.
What saved Nigeria was the depth of their bench. It produced nearly half (22) of the 59 points that Nigeria needed to see off Mozambique.
Nigeria also made the difference on free throws ratio. With 14 for 18 free throws, they were better off than Mozambique’s 16 for 24 attempts.
The D’Tigress also out-rebounded Mozambique 51-43, by being more active on the defensive side with 38 boards.
But ironically, the game’s best rebounder was wearing Mozambique’s uniform: Tamara Seda.
With this win, Nigeria have extended their winning streak to 22 in Africa. They have also sent a message to Rwanda, their opponent in the Semi-Finals, that they will be tough nuts to crack.
Nigeria have also showed that they are ready and focused on getting a fourth trophy in a row.