Nigeria’s D’Tigresses beat Mali 79-58 to reach the final of the 2019 AfroBasket on Friday evening.
The D’Tigresses had been impressive leading up to the encounter, winning all three previous games with relative ease to reach the semi-finals, but went up against a tricky Malian side with a better head-to-head record against them.
The reigning African champions had won just one of their past seven meetings with the 2007 Champions, but were the favourites going into the semi-final clash at the Dakar Arena.
Like they had done in all their games in the tournament so far, the Nigerian ladies came out attacking from the tip-off and duly won the first quarter 25-12. The second quarter was fiercely competitive but the D’Tigresses came through by one point (18-17) to take a 42-28 lead into the half-time break.
After the restart, the Nigerians went on to win the third and fourth quarters 17-12 and 20-18 to preserve their impressive record of winning all quarters in the tournament so far. It finished 79-58 in favour of the D’Tigresses.
Ezinne Kalu contributed 19 points and five assists for Otis Hughley Jr’s side while forward Evelyn Akhator finished the game with a double-double (12 points, 13 rebounds).
Nigeria will face either hosts Senegal on Sunday as they look to successfully defend the title they won two years ago.