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Basketball - 25. September 2011.

Afrobasket-MLI – Defense, bench strong for Nigeria

BAMAKO (Afrobasket Women) - Nigeria played at the Athens Games seven years ago and they’re hoping to return to the Olympics for 2012, something that would happen with a top-of-the-podium finish at the Afrobasket Women in Mali.

While not the favorites to clinch the title, the Nigerians showed for the second straight day on Sunday in a 68-60 victory over Cameroon that they would dangerous opponents in the latter stages of the tournament.

The game was knotted at 17-17 at the end of the first quarter but Nigeria outscored Cameroon (1-1) 20-10 in the second frame for a 37-27 lead at the break.

Riding a strong defensive effort and getting solid contributions from the bench, Nigeria kept their noses in front the rest of the way.

“We tried everything possible to break the Nigeria defense and stop their offense but their bench rose to the challenge to counter our plans," Cameroon coach Fabio Fossati said.

"We have learned a great lesson from the defeat and we hope to correct our mistakes in our next game against Angola on Monday."

After opening the tournament with a defeat to defending champions Senegal, the Nigerians have won two straight.

Angola (1-1) bounced back from their mauling at the hands of Senegal on Saturday by defeating Rwanda, 69-57.

Tunisia (1-2) were no match for Mozambique, falling 69-53.

Leia Dongue finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds for the winners, who improved to 3-0.

Also undefeated after three straight triumphs are Senegal.

They thrashed Guinea (0-3), 99-32, after getting 20 points from Aya Traore.

Ndeye Ndiaye weighed in with 12 points and 10 boards for the Senegalese.

Senegal stormed into a 29-6 lead by the end of the first quarter and never looked back.

Tournament hosts Mali (3-0) are the other side that has yet to lose after a 95-30 blowout of Ghana.

In Monday’s action, Cameroon face Angola and Ghana take on Democratic Republic of Congo.

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