Nigeria women’s basketball team D’Tigress lost to the World’s number one ranked team USA in their Tokyo Olympic Games preliminary round opener 81-72 despite putting up strong opposition to their American counterparts in Nigeria’s first Olympics appearance since 2004.
Nigeria’s girls started the game strongly and won the first quarter by three points, 20-17, before their opposition began to get the better of them, and the Americans won the second quarter 27-12 to go into halftime with a 44-32 lead. The American domination continued in the second half as the USA team built a 20 point lead, but the D’Tigress cut down the lead to just nine points, and the game ended 81-72 in favour of the USA. The Nigerian side had more attacking rebounds (19) than their counterparts from America (16), but their lack of big players attacking the rim robbed them of the chance to convert the rebounds to points for the team. The win over Nigeria was the USA’s 50th consecutive win at the Olympics, a run that started back in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.
Despite losing to the USA Women’s side, Nigeria’s D’Tigress put on a confident and improved showing, having lost 93-62 to this same USA side in an exhibition just weeks ago. They next face France in a crucial match on Friday, before ending their preliminary round campaign against Japan.