Nigeria women’s basketball team D’Tigress has kicked off their FIBA Women’s World Cup qualifying campaign with a disappointing defeat to China on Thursday.
The Nigerian ladies were outclassed 90-76 by their Chinese counterparts in the opening game of the FIBA Women’s World holding in Belgrade, Serbia.
Recall that the Otis Hughley-led girls booked a place in the qualifiers after clinching the 2021 Afrobasket title in Yaounde, Cameroon.
The team were without Ezinne Kalu, who had been ruled out for six months with a knee injury.
The Chinese had a great start, leading 29-14 in the first quarter of the encounter, and the deficit was extended further to 54-36 at halftime.
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Nigeria continued to trail as the quarter ended 74-52 in favour of the Chinese, with Yueru Li and Meng Li helping the Asians.
D’Tigress trio of Promise Amukamara, Adaora Elonu and Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah put up a better performance in the final quarter but China won the clash with a 14-point margin.
Yueru Li and Meng Li bagged 19 points each, Xu Han secured 15.
Amy Okonkwo led the Nigerians with 15 points and four rebounds, followed by Kunaiyi-Akpanah and Elonu with 12 points each.
D’Tigress will face France on Friday at 8p.m before playing Mali on Sunday in the final group game.
They will be hoping to finish among the top three in the group to qualify for the World Cup billed for Sydney later this year.
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