Ogoke in cloud nine as Nigeria looks to the skies
The celebrations were still underway for Nigeria after their first-ever FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup win, when Sarah Ogoke promised it was only the beginning.
With the noise of her team-mates partying in the locker room behind her, the guard was in bullish mood after Nigeria’s landmark 74-68 victory over Turkey. And, she had every right to be, having dropped a team-high 22 points in the contest.
It’s not over yet and we’re just getting started,” she smiled. “I’m not satisfied at all because to me it’s a big win, but we can’t feel comfortable until we beat Argentina and move into the next round.
“I have been playing on the national team for a while now and felt that I had a point to prove and Nigeria also had a point to prove. We’re not your typical African basketball country.
“We have a lot of talent on this team and we have a lot of experience and we finally got the chance to show it.”
Meanwhile head coach, Otis Hughley Jnr was a proud figure. Parachuted into the role only a few weeks before the tournament tipped off, he was quick to point out how well his team had done to fend off a late Turkey rescue mission.
“Turkey has been through a lot to build that programme and for us to sneak a little shortcut like that. Wow, I was praying almost on my knees as we’re so inexperienced and young,” he said.
“We came through a lot of adversity and mistakes and were still able to fight off a couple of runs. We even held on with some poise when two of our main players fouled out.
“I had been getting a little criticism for trying to get all the girls ready instead of focusing on the main stars, but I knew this kind of moment would come.
“This is not my first, second or third movie. I have seen it all too many times before in NBA, college and the FIBA game. I was just happy that my decision paid off.”
The win for Nigeria also completed an impressive African double against European opposition, with Senegal having taken a thrilling triumph against Latvia earlier in the day.
•Culled rom www.fiba.basketball.
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