It is crunch time for D’Tigress. The Nigerian women basketball team was seen as potential medallists at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, but they got a rude awakening on Tuesday from the United States, who defeated them in their opening game.
That loss, although expected following the pedigree of the Americans, put some question marks on the ability of the girls to stand up to Tokyo 2020 demands. Some pundits felt that D’Tigress did not put up much resistance against the world champions.
This morning, Nigeria is faced with a game many people expect them to win as their opponents, France, have shown a soft underbelly that D’Tigress should capitalize on for victory.
France lost their opening game 74-70 to Japan and like Nigeria, need victory today to retain any hope of making the second round.
Against the United States, D’Tigress lost 81 to 72, but they showed they could fight even when the tide was against them.
Nigeria had four scorers in double digits led by Ezinne Kalu with 16 points in the game against U.S., which Captain Adaora Elonu saw as part of the positives despite the defeat.
“It’s a mix of disappointment but also encouragement for us because we wanted some rhythm and we got that toward the end.
“So if we can carry that on for the next game it will be good,” she said.
The game will start by 9.20 a.m. Nigerian time, which is 5.20 p.m. in Japan.
In the group’s other game, leaders, Japan, will meet the United States in a match that will confirm one of the side’s passage to the second round.
Japan may have to do it without bench weapon Nako Motohashi who suffered an apparent injury when a French player fell on her leg in their first game.