The impressive run of Nigeria’s D’Tigress came to an end at the FIBA Women’s World Cup in Spain after they lost 71-40 to title-holders the United States of America on Friday.
Ezinne Kalu was Nigeria’s top performer in the quarter-final contest in San Cristobal de La Laguna as she helped herself to 8 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals.
However it was America’s rising talent Breanna Stewart. The Seattle Storm forward led with her efficient play, scoring 19 points.
But before then, D’Tigress got off to the best start in this game which they were underdogs. The Nigerian team led 17-9 after the first quarter.
It was the impressive Evelyn Akhator who opened the floor with a two-point jumpshot and followed up by missing a one-free throw.
Atonye Nyingifa, Kalu, Aisha Mohammed, Adaora Elonu, Sarah Imovbioh and Elo Edema Edeferioka also got involved for D’Tigers as the Americans put up an underwhelming start though A’Ja Wilson and Stewart starred.
It was the first time the USA would get a single-digit score in any quarter since 2006 in either the FIBA Women’s World Cup or the Olympic Games.
Things changed in the second quarter as the Americans won 18-6. Stewart and Wilson played central roles for Team USA. The USA became commanding in the paint and made their shots count to finish the second quarter with a four-point lead at 27-23.
Nigeria hit double figures in the third quarter but fell by seven points to the Americans. Kalu’s best attempts to stir the Africans only led to her making a floating jump shot, stealing, assisting and making free throws.
The USA triumphed in the third quarter and extended their lead by 11.
D’Tigress were blown out in the fourth and final quarter. The Nigerians only mustered five shots into the ring.
After a 25-5 outing in the final quarter, Team USA progressed to a 10th semi-final place at the World Cup while Nigeria will relish being the first African team to reach the last eight after defeating Greece, Argentina and Turkey en route their best performance in the tournament.
© The Predictor NG