08 - 11
February 2024
0 Amy Okonkwo (NGR)
Game Report
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Nigeria Edge Closer to Olympic Slot with Win over Senegal

ANTWERP (Belgium) - It was Nigeria who came out on top in a nail-biting battle of the African teams in Antwerp as they posted a 72-65 comeback win to beat Senegal and jump towards the Olympic Games.


With both teams to face Belgium and USA, this always looked to be a potential decider and it could prove that way after Nigeria extended their recent dominance of their fellow Africans.



Turning Point: Trailing 57-49 heading into the last 10 minutes and looking low on energy, Nigeria dug deep. They started the last quarter with an 11-0 run to swing the contest back firmly in their favor.



TCL Player of the Game: Amy Akonkwo showed why she was MVP last year at the FIBA Women's AfroBasket. She led Nigeria with a magnificent 21 points and 10 rebounds.


Stats Don't Lie: A total of 16 offensive boards for Nigeria was an important number - as was a massive 30 points off the bench.

Bottom Line: Nigeria endured a real roller-coaster having looked stronger early, having a huge wobble in the middle of the game and then coming back to get it done down the stretch. They leaned on Okonkwo for inspiration and she delivered.

Senegal had a win within their grasp, but perhaps froze when the opportunity of a famous win came into sight. The loss was tough on Yacine Diop who netted 23 points. 

They Said: "I am just so proud of my team. We fought through adversity being down in the first half. But when we listed to our coach and executed, it was a different game. It was about how we upped our energy and intensity. It felt like a Final, but every game should feel like that." Nigeria standout, Amy Akonkwo

"I am so incredibly proud of my team and I have special group. The game was not pretty, but they stuck together and they got it done. It was beautiful as a coach to see them come together and fight back when things were not going their way. This game felt like a Final because we knew what was at stake. But we only just got past this first road block." Nigeria playcaller, Rene Wakama

"I think we had the game but in the last quarter we missed easy lay ups. That hurt us. I think Nigeria got confidence at the end and they capitalized on this. Maybe it was mental but we came to beat Nigeria. We needed to be tougher and have belief that we could win the game." Senegal star, Yacine Diop

"It was tough. I think we controlled the first three quarters and played a solid game. The girls respected the game plan and the rules. In the last quarter some offensive rebounds, turnover and missed lay ups made the difference but I am really proud of the girls. I think the future is bright for Senegal. This was my first game as the head coach of the team. We have to remember Nigeria has not lost to another African team since 2015. We are focused on next year's FIBA Women's AfroBasket and we are going to get to the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup for sure." Senegal head coach, Alberto Carlos Antuna Leal