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Nigeria defeat Mali to complete AfroBasket three-peat

BOITUMELO RANTAO

AFRICAN powerhouse Nigeria defeated Mali 70-59 in a scorching Women’s African Basketball Championship (AfroBasket) final hosted at the City Arena in Yaounde, Cameroon.

Nigerian forward Victoria Macaulay made a three-point shot 30-seconds into the anticipated final to open the scoring – and the two-time defending champions never looked back.

D’Tigress (Nigeria’s Senior Women’s Basketball team) led the entirety of the final, momentarily looking stifled in the second quarter as Mariam Coulibaly mounted a comeback with Mali. Nigeria led 31-24 going into halftime after the Malian women fought back valiantly.

Nigeria dominated from the third quarter and beyond, extending their lead to 21 points at the end of the third. Spurred on by their electric point guard Ezinne Kalu – who finished with 13 points, 4 assists and 4 steals – Nigeria sealed their third AfroBasket title in a row. 

            Picture: twitter/afrobasketwomen Adoara Elonu

Captain Adaora Elonu finished the game with 12 points and 4 rebounds on her way to earning the award of Most Valuable Player at the tournament. Nigeria were led by a game-high 15 points by Macaulay and 13 points by Ifunaya Ibekwe in the final.

D’Tigress secured their fifth AfroBasket title overall (2003, 2005, 2017, 2019, and 2021) and remained undefeated on African soil since 2015. A dominant force on the continent, Nigeria maintain their rank of 16th on the FIBA World Rankings.

Center Coulibaly would finish with 13 and 9 rebounds as Mali concluded as AfroBasket silver medalists. Earlier in the day hosts Cameroon defeated Number-two ranked African side Senegal to earn bronze.

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Egypt’s Nadine Soliman ended as the tournaments top scorer with a total of 101 points in the tournament – an average of 16.8 ppg over six games – with a top score of 29 points against Angola.

Key statistics in the AfroBasket final:

Women’s AfroBasket final standings:

  1. Nigeria 
  2. Mali 
  3. Cameroon 
  4. Senegal 
  5. Mozambique 
  6. Egypt 
  7. Côte d’Ivoire
  8. Angola 
  9. Kenya 
  10. Cape Verde 
  11. Tunisia 
  12. Guinea
By The African Mirror

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