Following victories over Egypt, Guinea and Senegal, D’Tigress loss to Angola, in their opening game of the on-going AfroBasket Women Championship, is now a distant memory as they have won four games in a row.
The Nigeria women’s basketball team, on Tuesday night beat Algeria 79-49 to automatically qualify for the quarterfinal phase of the competition holding in Cameroun.
Three Nigerians scored ten points or more, while Algeria’s Sarah Nemmouchi finished with a team-high 13 points.
After trailing for the entire opening quarter, Nemmouchi gave Algeria a 18-16 lead, but Nigeria’s Olayinka Sanni made sure to get her team back in front to close the half leading 30-21.
Nigeria’s coach, Scott Nnaji, used all 12 players at his disposal as they head into the last eight with a four-game winning streak.
Speaking after the match to fiba.com, D’Tigress star, Olayinka Sanni, who plays in the WNBA described the presence of legendary Mfon Udoka in their camp as a morale booster.
Udoka, 39, who inspired Nigeria to its two consecutive wins so far (2003 and 2005) is in Yaoundé to energise the glory seeking D’Tigress who are aiming their third title.
“For me, Udoka has been like my role model. When I came in, in my first year to play in 2006 she was there and she was kind of my mentor as we played the same position. And she helped me along the way. She gave us hope that we can play for our country and play professionally.
“She has been a great inspiration for Nigeria’s women basketball and we look up to her.
“We are happy that she is here to give us support, and hopefully one day she will be along the sideline coaching us.”
The WNBA player also stated that the ultimate target of the Nigerian team was a return to the 2016 Olympics.
The Nigerian women will play Mozambique in the quarterfinals.