D’Tigress’ Point guard Ezinne Kalu has been listed among the five players who could make a significant impact at the FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament holding in Belgrade from February 6 to 9.
According to FIBA, the 27-year-old is an integral member of the Nigeria’s national women team whose contribution to the team’s back-to-back Afrobasket title in 2017 and 2019 cannot be underestimated.
“The guard has really come of age during the last couple of years and has risen to prominence at the same time as Nigeria have finally got things together in general. That combination has delivered FIBA Women’s Afrobasket titles and a positive showing at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2018.
“Last year, Kalu hit a new peak when she deservedly walked away with the MVP award having led Nigeria to gold in Dakar. Her 13 points, 3.2 assists, 3.0 steals and 2.6 boards per game underlined how fundamentally important she is to this Nigeria team.
“A similarly productive effort followed in the FIBA Women’s Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament and the question is whether Kalu can maintain that momentum and form. The signs are good after an impressive run in the French League with Landerneau Bretagne Basket, which seems to have further sharpened her game in all areas,” FIBA stated.
Also, other players expected to dazzle at the qualifiers include American duo of Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird, Mozambique’s Leia Dongue and Serbia’s Sonja Vasic.
Already, the American team had secured their place at the Olympic Games as the world champion while two other top teams in the group will join U. S. at Tokyo 2020.
Also, Victoria Macaulay may be one of Nigeria’s newest additions but she has embraced the D’Tigress’ spirit perfectly.
The 29-year old power forward says the prospect of being in Serbia is exciting. “I am very excited to go to Serbia. I feel like we have a very good chance of playing well and making it to Tokyo for the Olympics,” she told FIBA.basketball.
“No pressure at all. I believe in my team and myself and we are very talented and strong. Though it may be some challenging games I think we’ll be alright. I don’t think anything is going to be an easy ride. All the teams we play against are very good teams. The more wins under our belt the better for us.”