It was expected to be a close contest between two teams who had lost their respective opening games of the women’s basketball tournament of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, but in the end it turned out to be an easy win for France as they got the better of Nigeria 87-62 in Saitama.
The 25-point differential was in retrospect a true reflection of a game in which the French – the No 4 ranked team at this Olympics and No 5 in the world – dominated from start-to-finish against a Nigerian D’Tigress side that failed to reproduce the gritty performance they had on display against the United States on Tuesday.
Against the US, D’Tigress – the 17th ranked team in the world – showed the grit and courage associated with Tigresses, but they were a far cry from that side against France as they struggled to execute plays against the resolute French who bounced back from their opening day loss to Japan.
Sandrine Gruda scored 14 points, while Gabby Williams, Endene Miyem, Marine Johannes and Alix Duchet each added 13 points as five players scored in double figures for France.
Promise Amukamara led Nigeria in scoring with 11 points, while Ezinne Kalu, with 10 points, was the only other D’Tigress to enter double digits in scoring.
The French were up six points after one and led by three early in the second quarter before blowing the game open with a 22-8 burst to close the half at 44-27.
D’Tigress, attempting to win an Olympic contest in women’s basketball since 2004 when they went 1-5 in Greece, could not close the gap in the second half.
No African team has won a game since that Nigerian win over South Korea 17 years ago, but D’Tigress will get another chance on Monday against host Japan.