D’Tigress power forward, Evelyn Akhator has said that her team still needs to get better, describing the opening Afrobasket game against Tunisia as ‘bread and butter.’
Reigning champions Nigeria got off to a perfect start in the tournament with a 75-26 win over the hapless North Africans at the magnificent Dakar Arena on Saturday to go top of Group B.
Akhator dropped the tournament’s first double double with 13 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block to inspire D’Tigress to a resounding victory and send an early warning to all their rivals.
Akhator told FIBA.basketball after the game that the Nigerian team still needed to work hard. “We still need to get better because this is the Women’s AfroBasket. This game was like bread and butter because the main meal is yet to come so we have to keep fighting and play hard.”
A 14-6 lead at the end of the first quarter showed the gulf in class as Coach Otis Hughley’s outfit dominated the game on both ends of the court with absolute command showcased by Atonye Nyingifa who was in the thick of action and eventually dropped a total of 12 points, picked four rebounds and one assist.
At half time, Nigeria led 40-10 much to the discomfort of the North Africans who were torn in between anger and disappointment for such a mediocre fight they put up against a much stronger side.
Hughley Jr used the opportunity to rotate his squad and give minutes to everyone while trying out different combinations on court and indeed as he said later, Nigeria are turning a new page from the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2018 showdown in Spain.
The defending champions will take on Cameroun today at 5:30 pm at the Diamniadio Arena, Dakar. The match promises to be Nigeria’s first real test in the championship.