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D’Tigress lose opener to China in FIBA Women’s World Cup Qualifying Series

Nigeria’s senior women’s basketball team D’Tigress fell to a 90-76 defeat at the hands of their Chinese counterparts in Belgrade in their Group B opener at the FIBA Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament.

D’Tigress were placed in Group B that has Asian giants China, one of Europe’s finest sides France and fellow African side Mali for the tournament holding in Belgrade, Serbia.

China, D’Tigress first opponents at the tournament, showed their superiority to the ladies from Nigeria as they ran out 90-76 winners at the Ranko Zeravica Sports Hall.

China started the game quickly and ended the first quarter of the contest in possession of a 29-14 lead. D’Tigress improved in the second quarter but lost 25-22 to go into halftime with a deficit of 54-36.

China came out for the second half with all guns blazing, and claimed another huge 25-16 lead at the end of the third quarter. D’Tigress showed much more grit and quality in the fourth quarter and emerged with a brilliant 24-11 lead to cut the lead to 90-76 at the end of the fourth quarter.

Amy Okonkwo led the scoring for D’Tigress with 15 points and four rebounds. Adaora Elonu added 12 points, three rebounds and four assists in the game, and Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah contributed 12 points, four rebounds and two assists. The trio were part of the squad at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

D’Tigress will now look forward to their second group game against France tomorrow as they aim to finish in the qualification places for the tournament. France picked up a 77-66 win over Mali in the other group game.

The first three teams in each group will qualify for the FIBA Women’s World Cup in Australia later this year.

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