D’Tigress of Nigeria have emerged champions of Africa for the fourth consecutive time following their 84-74 victory against Senegal in the 2023 FIBA Women Afrobasket final inside the BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda.
D’Tigress successfully completed their title defense in style and won their 6th overall title after a nervy encounter with their fiercest rival 11-time champions Senegal.
Rena Wakama makes history for Nigeria
The win makes Nigeria the second African country after Senegal to win the women’s Afrobasket title four times in a row.
It was a historic day for coach Rena Wakama as she became the first ever female coach to win the Afrobasket title despite the inconvenience of assembling the largely inexperienced side a week before the start of the tournament.
Her wonderful tutelage and masterclass ensured that Nigeria achieved a four-peat championship record and remained unbeaten since October 2015 with a 24-0 impressive win record.
Wakama, a former Nigerian national team player, who currently serves as an Assistant Coach at Stony Brooks University, USA was appointed on June 30 on a two year contract.
The last time Nigeria lost a game in the Women’s Afrobasket was 2015 against Cameroon in the semi-final and they have gone on to win the title in 2017, 2019, 2021, and now in 2023.
The Nigerian queens performed excellently by winning the first quarter 19 – 10 before also taking the second quarter 24 – 21.
With a 43-31 point lead at half time, D’Tigress were on the verge of making history at The BK Arena–the largest indoor stadium in East Africa, with a sitting capacity of 10,000 people.
Senegal showed they were not ready to back down as they overcame D’Tigress in the third quarter 26-19.
Nigeria rallied back by winning 22 – 17 in the nervy fourth quarter to seal the historic win.
Top Performers and Award Winners
Amy Okonkwo, who has been impressive throughout the 2023 FIBA AfroBasket Women tournament, remained consistent and was instrumental to the title success
She performed excellently as usual by scoring 14 points, made eight rebounds, and provided two assists in 37 minutes of play.
The fantastic power-forward was rewarded for her stellar performance throughout the tournament as she deservedly won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award.
Okonkwo also won the power forward of the tournament award and made the All Stars five.
Ifunaya Okoro was the star performer as she scored 16 points and made 4 assists, 2 steals, 2/3 FTM, 2/3 3PM in 22 minutes of play.
Similarly, Elizabeth Balogun was the most efficient performer for D’Tigress as she recorded 15 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and made 1 steal and 2 blocks in 34 minutes of play.
Captain, Sarah Ogoke, who has played in multiple finals for Nigeria, showed great leadership ability as she played her best game of the tournament to lead the side to a historic feat.
Ogoke was fantastic as she scored 13 points, 4 assists and made 2/3 FTM, 1/3 3PM in 24 minutes of play.
Murjanatu Musa was impressive and instrumental for the side at both ends of the floor–defense and attack.
Musa scored 10 points and made 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks in 26 minutes of play.
D’Tigress defeated Senegal 84-74 to win a historic fourth consecutive AfroBasket women title.
The win ensured that Nigeria’s unbeaten record against Senegal in the Women Afrobasket final continued after a 64-57 win in 2005, a 65-48 win in 2017, a 60-55 win in 2019 and the 84-74 win over the Lionesses in today’s final.
Nigeria won their 6th overall title with wins over Congo, Egypt, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Senegal with an unbeaten record and are only five titles away from equalling and further surpassing Senegal’s mark of 11 titles.
The victory also means that D’Tigress have qualified for the Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Paris 2024 and will now compete for a spot at the women’s basketball event.