Friday’s FIBA Women’s AfroBasket offered two exciting semi-finals. Mali ended a series of failures by making it to the semi-finals for the first time since 2007, while Nigeria will play their third consecutive final.
In the first semi-final of the day, Mali beat Cameroon 52-51. In the next match, Nigeria outperformed Senegal by winning 73-63.
Mali had a delicate start to the match, immediately conceding a partial of 10-0, but the protected Joaquin Luis Brizuela immediately remobilized to return to the meeting.
Even if they lost the first quarter (19-12), the Malians managed to pick up the score at half-time (26-23).
The entry into play of winger Kadidia Haidara played the role of the detonator for Mali, the player quickly scoring two three-point baskets to allow the Malians to complete the third quarter with a 3-point lead (41- 38).
The efforts of coach Ahmed Mbombo Njoya and the Lionesses to regain control of the game were mastered by Mali, and even the double-double of Cameroonian Dulcy Fankam, author of 12 points and 12 rebounds, were not enough. .
The Malian Djeneba N’Diaye illustrated with 12 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 balls recovered, for an evaluation of +19, while the young Haidara added 11 points, including 9 on long distance shots.
Cameroon won the rebound battle (42-35), domination however insufficient to go to the final.
Nigeria, for its part, has left no doubt about its intentions in Yaoundé, fully justifying its status as the best continental nation.
Coach Otis Hughley’s team made the difference in the first three quarters, entering the final period with a comfortable 16-point lead.
Senegal did try a comeback in the 4th quarter, won 19-13, but that was not enough to reverse the course of the match. Nigeria will face Mali in the final on Sunday.
The Nigerian trio of Amy Okonkwo (16 points), Ify Ibekwe (14 points) and captain Adaora Elonu (12 points) scored 42 points for Nigeria. Senegal winger and captain Mame-Marie Sy-Diop finished top scorer in the game with 18 points, to which she added 2 assists and 2 blocks. The enterprising wing Yacine Diop and Ndeye Fatou Ndiaye for their part scored 14 and 11 points.
After three consecutive participations (2015, 2017 and 2019), Senegal will not play the final of this year’s edition. He will try to console himself on Sunday by winning the bronze medal, but Cameroon will have to be defeated on his land.