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Women’s basketball standout competes for Nigerian national team in African tournament

Ogoke in Nigeria

OCT. 15, 2013 – Sarah Ogoke, a 5-foot-9 senior guard on the SPSU women’s basketball team, competed for Nigeria in the AfroBasket Women 2013 tournament held in late September in Maputo, Mozambique. This is her third year as a member of the Nigerian National Team, D’Tigress, and her second AfroBasket tournament. “The competition was top-notch,” said Ogoke, who grew up in Sugar Land, Texas, but has parents who were born in Nigeria. “The national teams are comprised of about 90 percent professionals. There are some college players here and there, but everybody else is a pro.”

The tournament featured 12 teams from throughout Africa with the top two – champion Angola and runner-up Mozambique – advancing to the 2014 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Championship for Women in Istanbul, Turkey. Nigeria finished in sixth place after putting together a 4-4 overall record, including 2-3 in group play.

In Ogoke’s first AfroBasket tournament in 2011, “the whole experience was new to me, and I was like a deer in headlights. But this time around, I knew exactly what to expect. I knew what the competition was going to be like, and I knew exactly how to prepare.”

Nigeria qualified for bracket play in the 2013 tournament, but lost in the quarterfinal round to host Mozambique, 77-74. Ogoke poured in a game-high 25 points in 27 minutes on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor, making three three-pointers in front of a raucous, sold-out crowd.

“It was the experience of a lifetime,” she said. “I was happy to be able to play for Nigeria and at the same time represent Southern Poly. It has been a blessing.”

Last season as a junior – her first at SPSU – Ogoke helped lead the Hornets to a 25-6 overall record to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division I national tournament and to a final national ranking of 25th.

Ogoke was a 2013 NAIA Division I Third Team All-American after being named as both the Southern States Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. She led SPSU in scoring (18.9 points per game) and rebounds (9.6 per contest) in 2012-13 while also tallying 2.7 assists, 2.8 steals and 1.1 blocked shots per outing.