Nigeria’s national women’s basketball team, D’Tigress, on Wednesday in Spain escaped with the narrowest margin of one point to book their place in the quarterfinals of the ongoing FIBA Women’s World Cup.
The Nigerian team, which was playing at the Qualification to Quarterfinals stage having finished second behind Australia in Group D, defeated Greece 57-56 points at the Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
D’Tigress had a nervy start to the game and surrendered a comfortable lead in the first quarter to tie Greece 15-15.
They, however, rallied in the second quarter, after falling five points behind at the early stage to emerge winner of the second quarter 16-11. The third quarter also saw Nigeria extend their lead by winning 17-11.
But it was in the final quarter that the Greeks took matters into their hands by constantly asking questions of the Nigerian guards. Their persistence paid off as they overtook D’Tigress.
The Greek needed just a few points to hang on to victory when Nigeria managed to score nine points, including two crucial ones at dead of the game, to end the fourth quarter 9-19.
Evelyn Aktahor was Nigeria’s top performer, recording a 14-point, 13-rebound double-double performance in the slim win.
Greece Maria Fasoula was the overall top performer with 18 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.
D’Tigress’ Chinemelu Elonu attributed their victory to team spirit.
“I’m happy because we’ve been through a lot and our motto was to stay together and we stayed together.
“Greece is a really tough team. I don’t know how we pulled it off but I’m beyond happy and proud,” she said.
Elonu said: “It sounds really nice. I’ve never really thought about it. I don’t know what to expect but we’re just going to keep pushing.
“We didn’t know what to expect from the World Cup as none of us had been here. It’s just a ride that we’re taking,” she said.
Nigeria’s will now meet U.S.A in one of the quarterfinal games at the Santiago Martin Arena, San Cristobal de la Laguna on Thursday.