There was no preparation and the team got to Belgrade on Tuesday, February 8, and played against China on Thursday, February 10. They predictably lost by 14 points to the FIBA-ranked No.7 team.
The next test was France, the No.5 ranked team and D’Tigress were again, expected to lose, what with their under preparation and the absence of their captain and leader, Ezinne Kalu, but they surprised everyone with a 67-65 win.
This came despite losing the first quarter by 17 points as Victoria Macaulay posted a monster performance that saw her drain 19 points, which included the game-winning three-pointer.
On Sunday, they confirmed their ticket to Australia with a 73-69 win. As France lost 103-70, D’Tigress came second in the group standings.
Meet the triumphant team coached by Otis Hughley
|Name||Height||Club||Age||Mins in Belgrade||Points|
|Amy Okonkwo||6'2"||Innova-TSN Leganes (Spain)||25||59||37|
|Oderah Chidom||6'4"||Angers - Union Feminine Basket 49 (France)||26||85||30|
|Adaora Elonu||6'1"||BC Nadezhda (Russia)||31||88||30|
|Victoria Macaulay||6'4"||Bursa BSB (Turkey)||31||76||29|
|Promise Amukamara||5'9"||Charnay Basket Bourgogne SUD (France)||28||100||30|
|Atonye Nyingifa||6'0"||CDB Clarinos Tenerife (Spain)||31||72||22|
|Nicole Enabosi||6'0"||Herner TC (Germany)||24||61||20|
|Nicole Enabosi||6'0"||Herner TC (Germany)||24||61||20|
|Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah||6'2"||Basket Namur Capitale (Belgium)||24||49||14|
|Ify Ibekwe||6'2"||Nantes Reze (France)||32||0||0|
|Nkem Akaraiwe||6'0"||CB Andratx (Spain)||25||3||0|
|Murjanatu Musa||6'2"||Celta Zorka Recalvi (Spain)||21||7||4|
Okonkwo, 25, was born in the United States and attended Lubbock Christian University (LCU). She was undrafted and joined Dallas Wings training camp in April 2021 but they waived signing her so she joined Innova-TSN Leganes having played 18 games for Club Deportivo Zamarat in the Liga Femenina de Baloncesto in 2020. She was called to D’Tigress camp prior to the 2020 Olympic Games training camp. Okonkwo was not a starter in Belgrade but did not disappoint whenever she was called on and though she played lesser minutes than the starters, she made the most points over the three matches.
Macaulay was born in the United States and attended Curtis High School before moving to Temple University, from where she graduated in 2013. She was undrafted and left to play in Italy before joining Chicago Sky in 2015. She currently plays in Turkey with Bursa BSB. The rangy forward was chosen in the All-Star team in the Belgrade qualifiers. On Instagram, where her account is ambitious_vick, Macaulay comes across as a fashionista. She was called up by Nigeria in 2019 and was part of the team that won the 2019 AfroBasket tournament. Macaulay was the main reason Nigeria beat France 67-65 in their second group game. She scored 19 points and the crucial three points that won the game.
Amukamara was the only recognised point guard in the team and that amounted to her playing the most minutes, 100, but she shone brightly, especially with a buzzer-beater at the end of the third quarter against France. She was born in the United States and attended Arizona State University, where she also competed in athletics. According to Cronkite News, “She still holds the school record for the fastest 100 meters and 200 meters by a freshman.” She was drafted the 36th pick by the Phoenix Mercury in 2015. She joined D’Tigress in 2019 and was at the last Olympics with her great friend, Ezinne Kalu, who she plays with at French women’s Basketball league side Landerneau Bretagne.
The quiet one on the team, Elonu was a tower of strength for D’Tigress, especially in the heated moments in the games against France and Mali. Elonu was born in the United States and played college basketball for Texas A&M, where she won the 2011 NCAA Championship. She is one of the veterans on the team roster and one of the captains. She has been in all the D’Tigress that has won medals at AfroBasket tournaments. She has played her club career across many countries that including Angola, Israel, Spain, and in the WNBA with the Atlanta Dream. She was voted the MVP at the last AfroBasket tournament in 2021.
Chidom played the third-most minutes for D’Tigress in Belgrade and posted great numbers. She put up 30 points, 14 rebounds, and 15 assists. Chidom was also born in the United States and attended Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, California before entering the famous Duke University, from where she was drafted by the Atlanta Dream in 2017. She joined D’Tigress in 2020 and won the 2021 AfroBasket and then competed at the 2020 Olympics. Her Instagram page shows a family-oriented person.
Nyingifa has been with D’Tigress since 2017 and she was instrumental down the stretch against Mali in the third group game in Belgrade, in which she scored 11 points and pulled down eight rebounds. The 31-year-old was born in the U.S.A and her determination has helped this team to no ends.
Enabosi who was born in the U.S.A and attended Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Maryland was called up by Nigeria in 2018 but unfortunately, she tore her anterior cruciate ligaments during the tryouts in the team preparations for the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup in Spain. She was also decisive in the game against Mali, netting 11 points and pulled down eight rebounds. Her Instagram page shows someone who travels and is open-minded.
Nigeria joins host, Australia, the USA, who qualified as Olympic Champions, Canada, China, France, Japan, Korea, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.