Tokyo 2020:Nigeria loses to USA 72-81

July 27 07:27 2021

By Tolulope Oguntimehin

D’Tigress avoid humiliation and rallied  forcefully in the fourth quarter to close the gap and end their opening match against USA 72 -81.
Nigeria led 20-17 after the first quarter and 25-20 early in the second.Their decent start was paced by seven points each from Ifunanya Ibekwe and Promise Amukamara.

The U.S. suffered through a cold start to the game, shooting poorly and perhaps not coincidentally failing to get a point from Breanna Stewart until her free throw tied the game at 25 midway through the second quarter.
The Americans turned it on in the second quarter. Diana Taurasi had 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting at the break, while Sue Bird didn’t score but posted six assists with a game-high plus-18 through 12 minutes.

Ezinne Kalu and the Nigerians kept fighting despite trailing by 20 after three quarters, rallying with a fourth frame to build on at Saitama Super Arena. Their 12-0 run late forced Dawn Staley’s Americans to refind its form late in the game, as Sylvia Fowles and Chelsea Gray came up big down the stretch.

A’Ja Wilson was one of three U.S. players in double digits, leading all scorers with 19 points, while Sue Bird‘s 12-assist day stands as another highlight.

The win is the Americans’ 50th-straight win in Olympic women’s basketball.

Nigeria next meets France on Friday before tangling with hosts Japan to finish play on Aug .2

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