Sarah Ogoke led all scorers with 22 points and Evelyn Akhator again got double figures as Nigeria won their first game at the FIBA Women’s World Cup with a 74-68 defeat of Turkey on Sunday night.
D’Tigress shot 34 percent from the floor, a marginal increase from the 29 percent they recorded against Australia in their first game. But the Nigerians again out-hustled their opponents on the boards as they out-rebounded Turkey 43-39.
The also outscored Turkey on bench points 30-27, and recorded 14 fast break points to Turkey’s six.
But as it was against Australia, the relative lack of size meant that they were again outscored 34-30 in the paint.
Isil Alben opened the scoring with a mid-range shot and led all scorers at the end of the first quarter with six points, as the Turks took a 15-7 lead.
But it took a lot of effort from D’Tigress — who trailed 19-7 at the end of the first quarter, and needed a 21-0 scoring run in the third quarter, to put daylight between themselves and Turkey — who led for a long period early in the game.
Bahar Caglar and Esra Torpuz extended Turkey’s lead by 12 points to 19-7 early in the second quarter, before Sarah Ogoke sank a shot from range to make it 19-10.
D’Tigress then ramped-up their defencee, and went on a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to just two points at 23-21 with 4:32 left in the second quarter.
Turkey went into a time out and responded with a 5-0 run of their own to again increase the lead to 28-22, after which Atonye Nyigifa made one of two free throws to further cut into Turkey’s lead.
The Turks extended their lead to 32-26, but Ogoke made sure D’Tigress went into the break with much to look forward to, when she sank her second three-point shot of the day to bring her scoring to double figures with 12 points – the most by any player, as the Nigerians closed the gap to 32-29.
D’Tigress, who never led against Australia, took the lead with 1:49 seconds played in the third quarter, after Ogoke sank two free throws, to make it a 36-35, and didn’t relinquish the lead again.
Adaora Elonu, who had been 0-4 from the floor, sank a mid-range shot to make it 38-35, and start a run that stretched D’Tigress lead to 44-35, with Ogoke adding to the misery of the Turks with back-to-back three-pointers.
With D’Tigress in full flow, the rattled Turks committed one turnover after the other and missed open looks. The Nigerian lead ballooned to 12 points at 49-35 and Ekrem Memnun, the Turkish coach, called a time out.
But it was D’Tigress that came out of the brief break the better team as they further extended the lead to 52-35, before Cansu Koksal scored five points on back-to-back shots to reduce the lead to 52-40. Asena Yalcin then made a layup to make it 52-42 as the quarter ended.
And it was the Nigerians who started the fourth quarter on a brighter note by reeling off six points to extend their lead to 58-42.
Turkey stemmed the tide with a couple of Quanitra Hollingsworth layups on either side of free throws by Alben and Bahar Caglar to bring the score to 60-50.
Both teams then traded baskets until D’Tigress eked out the win.
Nigeria will face Argentina in the last group game on Tommorw.