Nigeria Wins the 2017 AfroBasket Title in Bamako, Mali
It was a rewarding moment for the D’Tigress of Nigeria after clinching its third Women’s AfroBasket title by defeating record title holders Senegal, 65-48 in this year’s finals at the Palais des Sports Salamatou Maïga in Bamako, Mali.
The Tigress who earlier defeated Senegal in the group stages went down in the first quarter 12-18 but returned with more force in the remaining quarters by taking the lead 21-10, 25-7, and 17-13 in the remaining quarters.
The match was a repeat of 2005 final when Nigeria completed its back-to-back triumph after defeating Senegal 64-57 at the Indoor Sports Hall in Abuja, Nigeria.
Senegal’s star player Astou Traore scored the game-highest 17 points, but Nigeria’s Osaretin Akhator‘s game-high 13points proved significant as coach James Vincent and his side walked away with this year’s title.
Having qualified as finalists for the 2017 AfroBasket, both teams booked their tickets to next year’s FIBA Women’s World Cup that will be hosted in Spain.
In the 3rd-place playoff following disappointing results in their semifinals matches, hosts Mali and Mozambique took to the court to battle for 3rd-place in the biannual competition, finishing 75-52 in favor of Mali.
Mali was narrowly defeated by the current champions 48-47 in an intriguing encounter on Saturday. Both teams won two-quarters apiece, but it was just the single point that separated the two sides. Mozambique was defeated by former champions Senegal 72-52 who dominated the scores in the four quarters.
Following the climax of the competition, Senegal’s forward Astou Traore was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after scoring 173 points and was joined by other top performing players including; Osaretin Akhator of Nigeria, Angola’s point-guard Italee Lucas, Mozambique’s forward Leia Dongue and Nagnouma Coulibaly of Mali.
Final standings of the FIBA 2017 Women’s AfroBasket:
5. Cote d’Ivoire
12. The Central African Republic
Feature Photo: FIBA.Basketball