D’Tigress power past Mali to qualify for Sydney World Cup
Following on from the euphoria of their historic win against France, they repeated that feeling of joy, but also mixed with a palpable sense of relief by completing a 73-69 victory against Continental rivals Mali.
“I think fatigue set in and only having one point guard made it tough against a team in survival mode,” reflected Nigeria head coach, Otis Hughley Jr. after the final buzzer had sounded.
“But seriously, hats off to Mali and their undying effort. Credit to their coach who did such an amazing job and Mali almost flipped the script.”
“But our girls took the punch and we’re off to Sydney – we’re just happy about that,” he added.
Promise Amukamara had 10 points and 8 assists and the playmaker added: “This tournament was very special for us. We battled through a lot of adversity. I had to step up and take on the point guard and leader role. I am not very vocal, so that was a challenge for me.”
“I think this tournament was the best one for us, because we had to put absolutely everything together with no training camp or preparation. We really believed in ourselves.”
She continued: “Now we just have to get back healthy and the sky is the limit. We have already shocked a lot of the world. We won’t be just turning up (in Sydney), we will have a different mindset and will be reaching for the Quarter-Finals.”
D’Tigress join host nation Australia, Serbia, France, China, and Korea in advancing to Sydney via the Serbian capital, while Mali reflect on an opportunity lost to make history and reach the main event for the first time.
China power past France
It was China who finished top of Group B after they collected a fabulous 103-70 statement win. The momentum for this team is really impressive. It was also the heaviest defeat for their the French squad in a decade, since the 2012 Olympic final against Team USA.
Sijing Huang was named MVP of the Tournamentand that was no surrpise after her amazing line of 30 points. 7 board and 6 assists. She was helped by Siyu Wang with 10 points and a brilliant 15 assists.
Meanwhile in Group A, Serbia had to work hard to finish flawless, but met the task by beating Brazil 76-70 as MVP Yvonne Anderson went to work with 25 points, 6 assists and 3 steals.
Australia made light work of soaring past Korea 79-61 to finish on a winning note and bounce back from Saturday’s loss to Serbia.
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