Updated Jul 27, 2021 - Sports

U.S. women's hoops survive early challenge, defeat Nigeria 81-72

Ina Fried
The US Women's squad won 81-72

Ina Fried/Axios

Nigeria held with the U.S. women's basketball team on Tuesday, but the American squad took control late in the second quarter and hung on to win 81-72.

Why it matters: The U.S. is looking for its seventh straight gold medal, lost two of its last three exhibition games, to the WNBA All-Stars and Australia. It hasn't lost an Olympic game since 1992.

Between the lines: The game had some extra intrigue as Nneka Ogwumike, who was controversially left off the US squad, had petitioned to play for Nigeria along with her sisters, but was denied.

  • Chiney Ogwumike is also not on the roster, though younger sister Erica is playing for Nigeria in Tokyo.

What they're saying: Asked by Axios if letting Chiney and Nneka play for Nigeria in Tokyo would have been good for women's basketball, Staley said: "Any time you have the best players in the game playing the sport, it's always going to help," Staley said. "How you accomplish that is the difficult part. Would it have been fun to play against all the Ogwumikes? Absolutely."

What's next: The U.S. women play host country Japan on Friday afternoon Tokyo time.

Go deeper: Full Axios Olympics coverage

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