Nigeria’s D’Tigress lost to male side, Raptors Basketball Club of Lagos 51-71 in their first test match ahead of the 2017 Afrobasket Women competition.
The game played Wednesday evening inside the Indoor Sports Hall of the Lagos National stadium was witnessed by Vice President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation, Babs Ogunade and two board members, Col Samuel Ahmedu (rtd) and Felix Awogu including an impressive turnout of fans.
The Division 1 side led by Charles Ibeziako led with 10 points in the opening minutes of the first quarter, a prelude to the loss by the national team handled on the night by Peter Ahmedu.
Despite making a steady recovery into the game, it was a case of too little too late as the Senior Women’s National Team trailed by 25points to 14 at the end the first quarter.
The second quarter saw a D’Tigress team with a high level of metal alertness, defensive discipline and good attacking moves as they took the initiative from the Raptors team who were desperate to make an impression after missing an automatic promotion to the Premier League at the end of the 2016 season.
The players all conspired to allow the opposition score just 2 baskets while the D’Tigress scored 16 points to end the game at 30-28 in their favour at the end of the 2nd quarter.
Raptors used physical advantage in the third quarter, punishing D’Tigress with series of fast breaks after the team failed to deal with many rebounds.
D’Tigress only managed 10 more points to their scores as Raptors stretched open the lead by 56-38.
Speaking after the game, the team’s assistant coach, Peter Ahmedu who stood in for the head coach, Sam Vincent expressed delight in the team. Ahmedu said that the team will get better after one or two more friendlies before jetting out to Bamako for the Afrobasket competition
“With what I have seen so far, I am very impressed because this is the first game we are playing together since the arrival of the foreign players from the United States of America.
“Managing over 20 girls on the bench was another problem. To look at them and pass instruction was another problem.”
He promised to go back to the drawing board, make the necessary corrections with the technical crew headed by Sam Vincent who arrived Lagos on Wednesday.
On the other side, Ibeziako of Raptors described playing against the national team as a big opportunity, days before representing the country at Africa’s largest women’s basketball fiesta.
Despite losing, Ibeziako was full of praise for the team. “It is tough for women to play against men. But with what I have seen, they are tough and will represent Nigeria very well.”
An impressed Ogunade expressed optimism that in the next couple of days, the team should be ready to launch a title challenge in Mali.
“Initially, they were jittery but as the game went on, they got better and that is truly the case in a team sport. The more games you play, the more you get better and I am hoping by the time we play the next game, we will be doing better than this”, said Ogunade.