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04/09/2017
Julio Chitunda's African Message
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Top 10 players from FIBA Women's AfroBasket 2017

SHEFFIELD (Julio Chitunda's African Message) - It's been only a week since Nigeria became the latest FIBA Women's AfroBasket champions, and it's still worth looking back and relive some of the top performers. 

Astou Traore

Six FIBA Women's AfroBasket under her belt have made Traore one of the tournament's most prolific scorers. 


Astou Traore at FIBA Women's AfroBasket 2013 

She has experienced a bit of everything throughout her national team career. And, this 2013 photo (above) shows how inconsolable Traore was after a nail-biting Semi-Final defeat to eventual champions Angola.

At the time she promised to come back better and stronger, and she did just that. She not only won her first continental title two years later in Cameroon, but she also earned a ticket to the Rio Olympics.

Last month, she was so good at leading Senegal's offense, that it came as no surprise that she was named the MVP of 2017 FIBA Women's AfroBasket despite Senegal's defeat in the final.  

Evelyn Akhator  

It's not just her big numbers (team-highs 15.3 points and 9.5 rebounds per game) that made the 22-year-old forward a delight to watch. A born-leader, communicator, the former University of Kentucky ace inspired Nigeria to their first continental title since 2005. 

Ezinne Kalu 

A tenacious competitor, Kalu reaffirmed that her game-winning three-pointer against Korea at the 2016 FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament wasn't accidental.  

In Bamako, the 22-year-old guard sent a message to potential 2018 FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup opponents. A big-time player who has a lot to offer in the years to come. 

Adaora Elonu

Discreet but efficient, that's how Elonu led the Nigerian offense. And, her team-highs 3.9 assists speak for themselves.

Italee Lucas

The best thing that could have happened to Angola women's basketball in recent years, is clearly Lucas.  

Named the 2017 MVP of the Angolan Championship, Lucas was arguably the most spectacular player to watch in the entire tournament.

Menatalla Awad


Award became Egypt's most efficient player at FIBA Women's Basketball 2017

Awad may not be a show-time kind of player like her teammate Soraia Deghadi, but she was efficient, tireless and a true competitor. 

Naignouma Coulibaly

Mali may have failed to win the African title for the second straight time on home soil, but seven-time FIBA Women's AfroBasket participant Coulibaly honored local fans by becoming the tournament top-rebounder with 9.6 boards per contest.  

Leia Dongue 

That the Mozambican ace had become one of the most popular on the continent of Africa in recent years, wasn't a secret, but leading her country to the Semi-Finals was special for a player who has made the All-Tournament team for the second time in a row (2013 and 2017. She sat out the tournament two years ago).

Mame Marie Sy


Sy was Senegal's second leading scorer with averages of 8.5 points per game 

While Traore was key to Senegal, two-time African champion Sy was huge, becoming a vocal leader on the court. 

Tamara Seda

A promising Mozambique talent who spent the latest years of her career playing for the University of Texas El Paso, a NCAA Division 1 school, it was refreshing watching, Seda making her debut for her country. 


Seda is seen here during a FIBA Women's AfroBasket 2017 against Guinea

In the absence of Deolinda Gimo, a team-high 8.6 rebounds and 9.3 points per contest couldn't have been any better start for the 1.92m center.

There has been huge and some breathtaking plays, nevertheless, what these ten players did, made it worth watching the biennial African Championship.

Surely, there will be some more fascinating players later this year during the FIBA African Champions Cup for Women.

Julio Chitunda
FIBA

FIBA's columnists write on a wide range of topics relating to basketball that are of interest to them. The opinions they express are their own and in no way reflect those of FIBA.

FIBA takes no responsibility and gives no guarantees, warranties or representations, implied or otherwise, for the content or accuracy of the content and opinion expressed in the above article.

 

Julio Chitunda

Julio Chitunda

Julio Chitunda, a University of Sheffield alumni and former semi-professional player, has worked for a number of Portuguese media outlets as well as The Press Association and covered international basketball for over a decade. Through his column, he offers an insight into basketball on the world's second biggest continent.