Akhator Shines as Nigeria Advances to AfroBasket Quarterfinals
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Former University of Kentucky post Evelyn Akhator is shining on the international stage as she has led Nigeria to the quarterfinals of the 2017 FIBA Women’s AfroBasket Tournament in Mali.
Early Thursday morning, Akhator paced Nigeria in its stunning upset of Senegal, earning a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds. The native of Lagos, Nigeria, added two assists, one steal and one blocked shot in 36 minutes of play.
Nigeria, which went a perfect 5-0 during the group phase, will play neighboring Cote d’Ivoire in the quarterfinals Friday with the winner advancing to the semifinals Saturday. The championship and third-place games will be played Sunday.
“We set a goal that we want to win,” Akhator told FIBA.basketball after the win vs. Senegal. “We came here for the gold. The more we keep playing, the more confidence we keep getting and the more trust we get amongst us.”
Akhator has been performing well for her home country, averaging 25.2 minutes per game during the five group phase games. The 6-foot-3 forward has two double-doubles and is averaging 16.6 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. Her best performance came against Egypt when she scored 24 points with 13 rebounds, adding five assists, three steals and three blocked shots.
Akhator joined the team in late July to participate in training camp. Following Nigeria’s conclusion in the tournament, she will return to the United States to finish the WNBA season with the Dallas Wings.
Before the event, Akhator played in 15 games for Dallas after being drafted third overall in the 2017 WNBA Draft to become the highest draft pick in Kentucky women’s basketball history. Akhator was averaging 4.1 minutes per game as a rookie.
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