Nigeria Battles Mali For FIBA Women’s World Cup Ticket Today
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By Amaechi Agbo
Nigeria’s senior female national basketball team, the D’Tigress’ dream of playing in the finals of the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup received a major boost on Friday as they defeated world power, France to set up a clash with fellow Africa’s Mali
D’Tigress, Nigeria’s flag bearers at the event defeated highly rated France on match day two by 67 to 65 points on Friday at the Ranko Žeravica Sports Hall.
D’Tigress dropped the first quarter by 11 to 28 points but came back strongly to take the second, third and fourth quarters in a sweet fashion to win their first game after the opening defeat in the hands of China on Thursday.
Down by 17 points after the first quarter (11-28), Nigeria stunned the French back with an amazing half-court buzzer-beater at the end of the third period by Promise Amukamara.
Nigeria then took the lead midway through the last quarter to set up a dramatic finish. And, in what proved to be a nail biting finish, both nations could have taken victory, but it was the African Queens who got the job done.
D’Tigress were inspired by Victoria Macaulay, who hit 19 points, 5 steals, 4 rebounds and 4 assists, while France were punished by a huge 25 turnovers.
The win, means that the African champions will land in Australia for the World Cup with a win over Mali on Sunday in the last group game.
The top three in each of the groups qualify for the World Cup finals which holds between the 22nd of September and the 1st of October in Sydney, Australia this year
China and France both confirmed their spots for the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022 in Sydney, while Nigeria also had a night to remember.
China became the first to join Australia and USA at the flagship event later this year, with two wins out of two in Group B in Belgrade thanks to a powerful 84-64 demolition of Mali.
The one-two punch of center Yueru Li in the paint and Sijing Huang proved unstoppable, with the former underlining her rapidly growing status as a potential MVP frontrunner by doing more stellar work down low.
Yueru Li claimed a 21-point and 11-rebound double-double.
Huang knocked on the door of a triple-double, dismissing the issue of her missing a stack of shots from outside to still walk off the floor with a super 11 points, 14 rebounds and 8 assists.
France is now qualified because of their positive point average (+9) in case of a tie with Nigeria and Mali.
One last ticket for Sydney is now available between Nigeria and Mali.