BY MATTHEW SMITH.
Reigning champions, D’Tigress of Nigeria are through to the final of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) AfroBasket after beating Mali 79-58.
Evelyn Akhator was again the key figure for the Nigerians, scoring 12 points and picking up 13 rebounds in a stellar display at the Dakar Arena.
Ezinne Kalu top-scored for Nigeria with 19 points as they earned 21-point victory, their smallest winning margin of four wins from four in the tournament so far.
Nigeria started like an express train and were 25-12 ahead by the end of the first quarter.
Mali upped their game but the holders only extended their lead until the end
It means Mali must keep waiting for their first AfroBasket title since 2007, despite Meiya Tirera scoring 14 points.
Nigeria could be set for a repeat of the 2017 final this weekend, with hosts and 12-times champions Senegal in action in the other semi-final.
Senegal – beaten 65-48 by the Nigerians in Bamako two years ago – take on Mozambique in the late game.
Earlier, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola earned victories in the fifth to eight place classification matches.
DR Congo defeated Ivory Coast 54-47, before Angola edged out Egypt 68-66.