Nigeria’s national women’s basketball team, D’Tigress, on Tuesday lost 81-72 to the United States in their opening game at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The Nigerian ladies put up a brave fight in the encounter as they lost only by eight points on Tuesday, as against the 31 points difference in the 93-62 scoreline in which they lost to the Americans recently in an exhibition game in the run-up to the competition.
D’Tigress, however, could not match the Americans, who have much bigger players in their team.
D’Tigress made an impressive 8-1 start, forcing the US to turn the ball over several times, but the defending champions soon found a way around Nigeria’s full-court press and eventually went into a 9-8 lead with just under five minutes left in the opening quarter.
By the 2:12 mark, both sides were tied 16-16 and in foul trouble, and D’Tigress were soon back in the lead when Ify Ibekwe dropped a free throw to put Nigeria up 17-16.
The Nigerians went into the lead in the second quarter but Diana Taurasi then dropped a three to put the US in front and they did not look back from that point, finishing the half with a lead of 12 points.
The US’ 12-point lead increased to 20 at the end of the third quarter, but a fourth-quarter revival by D’Tigress saw the Nigerians at a point reducing the deficit to five points before a late surge from Team USA rescued the day for the defending champions.
The win made it the 50th consecutive Olympic victory for the USA Women’s basketball national team.
D’Tigress will face France in their next game on Friday.