Canadian basketball fans will look back at the 2018 FIBA World Cup as one that began with a world of promise for its team.
They made it to the quarterfinals only to lose in heartbreaking fashion to Spain, then were defeated in a placement contest with China that its players themselves may say they should have won.
Canada had one more opportunity to end the World Cup on a high note as it took on Nigeria, fielding a D’Tigress team that became one of the darlings of the tournament – and their home country.
That opportunity produced a positive result for Canada as they scored a one-point, 73-72 victory over Nigeria.
At the midway point of the fourth quarter, both teams were all tied at 62. Canada maintained a slim lead through the remainder of the period and scored just enough points to find itself in the win column.
Despite the fact that Nigeria won the offensive rebounding battle 27-11 – and scoring 28 second-chance points to Canada’s 10, D’Tigress will look long at the fact that it only made 60 percent of its free throws compared to the 85 percent Canada shot from the stripe.
Kia Nurse ends her tournament with a 17-point performance. Miah-Marie Langlois had 14 points. Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe finished with 10 points and six rebounds while Natalie Achonwa had five rebounds.
Atonye Nyingifa finished her FIBA World Cup with a 17-point outing. Ezinne Kalu and Evelyn Akhator each scored 13 points with Akhator also pulling in 11 rebounds. Adora Elonu had 11 points.
Despite the disappointing finish, it is still the best-ever performance in a FIBA World Cup for a team from Africa.