NIGERIA’S KALU NAMED MVP OF THE 2019 FIBA WOMEN’S AFROBASKET

NIGERIA’S KALU NAMED MVP OF THE 2019 FIBA WOMEN’S AFROBASKET

Ezinne Kalu has been named the Most Valuable Player of the 2019 FIBA Women’s AfroBasket after leading Nigeria to back-to-back continental titles on Sunday in Dakar.

As well as contributing 13 points and playing terrific defense in Nigeria’s 60-55 win over hosts Senegal, Kalu headlined the All-Tournament team alongside her teammate Evelyn Akhator, Mali’s Touty Gandega, Senegal’s Astou Traore and Leia Dongue of Mozambique.

In her second FIBA Women’s AfroBasket appearance, Kalu averaged 13 points and a team-high 3 assists in five games.

The 27-year-old guard was phenomenal throughout the eight-day tournament in Dakar, coming up with incredible plays for the two-time defending champions.

Kalu (centre) with other individual award winners

And it was in Friday’s 79-58 semifinal win against Mali that Kalu reiterated her MVP credentials after hitting five of her ten three-points attempts to finish with a game-best 19 points.

In the process, she helped Nigeria become the first team to win back-to-back FIBA Women’s AfroBasket titles since Angola did it in 2013.

Ever since Kalu made her debut for Nigeria at he 2016 FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament, – where she hit a three-point winner that relaunched Nigeria in the Rio Olympics race – the 1.78m (5ft 8in) guard has been fundamental for the West African country. 

And they may have missed a spot for the Rio Games’ by a whisker three years ago, but Kalu’s Nigeria have a second chance in November when they take part in the pre-qualifiers for the 2020 FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifiers. 

FIBA

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