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Amy Okonkwo battles Senegal’s Cierra Dillard for Afrobasket MVP

Amy Okonkwo battles Senegal’s Cierra Dillard for Afrobasket MVP

D’Tigress forward, Amy Okonkwo and Senegalese guard, Cierra Dillard are the front runners for the Most Valuable Player of the ongoing 2023 FIBA Women’s Afrobasket in Rwanda.

Nigeria and Senegal are billed to face off in another Women’s Afrobasket final on Saturday – the third time in the last four editions with Nigeria emerging victorious in their last two meetings in 2017 and 2019.

D’Tigress who are unbeaten in their last 23 games are also looking to become the second country after Senegal to win four consecutive Women’s Afrobasket championships. Whilst the countries are battling for the trophy, the question of who will be named the Most Valuable Player of the competition will also be asked. Should it be Okonkwo or Dillard? 

Okonkwo by far has been Nigeria’s best player in the competition leading the country in points, steals, minutes played, and efficiency. 

Amy Okonkwo attempting a shot

In terms of scoring, Okonkwo had her lowest outing in Nigeria’s first game recording four points in 21 minutes on the court. She however bounced back from her below-par performance and became Nigeria’s best player in the next three games scoring 29 points in the country’s 83-65 win over Egypt, 17 points in the 59-52 quarter-final win over Mozambique and 23 points in the semi-final win over hosts Rwanda. 

Also read: D’Tigress, Senegal to clash in epic showdown for 2023 Women’s Afrobasket title

The forward is fourth on the log of the top scorers in the competition having amassed a total of 73 points in four games. She’s averaged 31.4 minutes per game so far in the competition.  The 26-year-old has averaged 18.3 points per game, also averaging 41.7% from beyond the arc while she is the only player in the top 20 in the competition with a 100% free throw attempt made. 

Dillard on the other hand had 21 points in Senegal’s 85-83 loss to Uganda and also grabbed 20 points in a 49-72 loss to Mali. She scored just two points in their quarter-finals playoff against Egypt. In the quarter-final against Cameroon, she recorded 29 points while also adding 33 points in their semi-final win against Mali. 

Dillard (middle)

The Senegalese is second on the top scorer’s log with 105 points averaging 33.1 minutes in the competition. She’s averaging 21 points per game, 31.6% from beyond the arc and 77.8% from the free throw line. She’s also played a game more than Okonkwo having featured in a classification game. 

Dillard is No.4 on the overall field goals shooting while Okonkwo is No. 8. The Senegalese also bests the Nigerian in two points field goals. She is ranked No. 1 while Okonkwo is ranked No. 12.

Okonkwo is ranked No. 6 best in three-point percentage while Dillard is No. 10. Okonkwo is No. 1 on free throws conversion percentage while Dillard is 8.

Both players have a strong shout for who should be crowned the tournament’s MVP, however, the award will be decided after the final but no doubt, they have been two of the best players in the competition.

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