With the bottleneck around basketball administration in Nigeria, D’Tigress kept their global rise intact with a 2-1 result at the FIBA world cup qualifiers in Belgrade.
A win over Mali and France means D’Tigress are returning to the Basketball world cup.
Before the two victories by the African champions, the team lost to China in the first game.
D’tigress last played together in September at the 2021 Afrobasket final, where they defeated Mali and achieved a three-peat in Cameroon.
With Ezinne Kalu missing out on injury, and just one natural Point Guard, Promise Amukamara, coach Hughely had his work cut out.
The big question was, who will play at PG when Promise needs to sub?
The roster consists of 7 forwards (power /small) and 3 Centers, then one PG, meaning they are short.
It became a head-scratcher as Adaora Elonu Atonye Nyingifa stepped into the role.
Qualification for the World Cup now looks within reach.
A slow start fueled pessimism as they were down by 17 at the end of the first quarter (11–28) against France.
The Afrobasket champions showed grit, outscoring France in the remaining quarters despite having just ten players fit on the roster from the available 11.
Surprisingly, Hughley used just 8 of the ten players leaving out Murjanatu Musa and Nkem Akaraiwe.
The African champions reduced their 20-point deficit to 11 at halftime (27–38) and never stopped.
With 6:37 left in the fourth quarter, Macaulay delivered back-to-back buckets to give Nigeria their first lead in the game, 56 –54.
Victoria Macaulay’s monster game came to the fore at the last minute.
A steal, two free throws, and a three-point shot by Macaulay in the last minute of the game was enough for Nigeria to record an upset over world number five, France.
The game against Mali was going smoothly until the fourth quarter.
The Malians crawled back a twenty-point deficit to within two, but they ran out of time.
A repeat of the 2021 Afrobasket final went the same way for Nigeria.