Afrobasket Women 2017: Akhator hopeful against Guinea

By Joe Apu

Nigeria’s WNBA star at the on-going FIBA AfroBasket Women 2017 in Bamako, Mali has expressed confidence that she and her mates would continue their good run in   their fourth group game today against Guinea.

Despite Guinea losing all three matches played so far against Senegal 105-39, Egypt 109-78 and Mozambique 88-47, Nigeria’s coach, Sam Vincent and his wards are not taking their feet off the pedal as they confront the tiny nation.

No doubt, all eyes would be on D’Tigress Evelyn Akhator who had expressed confidence of another world class performance. Guinea would be banking on point guard Kardy Ndiaye and forward Nadia Peruch Niang to slow the Nigerian side.

Akhator who plays as a forward/center and currently in the books of Dallas Wings in the Women National Basketball Association (WNBA) said despite an impressive outing so far in the competition, she had not reached her full potential.

The influential player started her campaign against Mozambique with 13points and 6 rebounds before hitting 7points and catching 9 rebounds against DR Congo climaxed on Sunday against Egypt with 24points, 5 assists and 13 rebounds.

Speaking after her effort ensured Nigeria became the first team to qualify for the quarter finals Akhator said, “I am just having fun. One thing about basketball is that you just need to have fun to be at your best and that is what I have been doing.”

Despite recording a double-double against Egypt, the number 3 overall pick in the 2017 WNBA draft was not carried away by her performances so far at the competition as she is fully focused on the games ahead.

“I don’t care about the scores, we just play every opposition at a time and that is what I have been doing and I think it’s been working not just for me but also for the team.”

She expressed satisfaction with the team’s display after a good outing which saw them blowing out their Egyptian opposition with a 106points to 72 win.

According to her, opponents who underrated them due to their size had continued to regret it.

Speaking on the team’s chances of winning the tournament and booking an automatic ticket to the 2018 FIBA World Cup, Akhator said the team is not getting ahead of themselves with two more group games to play.

Akhator concluded that if the team is to stand a reasonable chance of winning the tournament, they need to focus more on their transition defence and offence.

“I think we are going to learn from our mistakes and get better. Every game is a learning experience for us. Against Egypt, we noticed we needed to take care of the ball more, we needed to reduce our turnovers and that was exactly what we did.”

The game takes place at 11:45am today.

Source : SunOnline

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