Nigeria's women basketball team, D'Tigress last night emerged African champions for the first time in 12 years at 2017 FIBA Women Afrobasket Tournament in Bamako, Mali.
The Nigerian side defeated Senegal 65-48 last night to become the new African champions and heading for the World Cup in Spain as the undisputed continental leaders.
The Senegalese took the early lead winning the first quarter 18-12. But before their supporters could believe in a huge win, Nigeria fought back and won the second quarter at 21-10.
This second quarter rally would eventually define the outcome of the match as D'Tigress established a lead and never looked back. Nigeria won the third quarter 15-7 and capped it with a 17-13 hold out at the championship buzzer.
In so doing, they have set the pace for the men's football team, the Super Eagles who must be turbo-charged as they confront Cameroon in twin destiny-shaping encounters in the next nine days.
On their way to wearing the continental crown, D'Tigress played eight matches and won all. D'Tigress booked the first FIBA World Cup ticket from the African zone after advancing to the finals of the Afrobasket with the defeat of host-Mali in a hard fought semi-final game by 48points to 47.
It was Mali's Tirera Meiya that led the scorer's chat with 15points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds but it was not enough to upset a more technically balanced Sam Vincent led side who shared the scoring responsibility on the night.
D'Tigress co-captain, Kalu Ezinne steered the battle charge against the host scoring 11points, 6 assists and catching 4 rebounds while Nyingifa Atonye contributed 11 points, 2 assists and 4 rebounds to cap an unforgettable win.
The last time D'Tigress won the tournament was in 2005 in Abuja when Nigeria hosted the 17th edition of the tournament. Nigeria won her first women Afrobasket title in 2003.
D'TIGRESS' ROAD TO TITLE
84-47 DR Congo
98-43 Ivory cost