One of the most outstanding and consistent players in the Nigerian national female basketball team is Ezinne Kalu. Born on June 26, 1992, in Newark, New Jersey, United States, Kalu showed glimpses of a bright future in basketball at a very young age by becoming the first woman in the basketball history of Science Park High School, Newark, to score over 2,000 points.
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Her exploits at the school have been highly celebrated as the number 23 jersey she wore while featuring for the academic institution was retired in 2017, also making her the first woman whose jersey has been retired in the school’s history.
Following the completion of her high school education in 2010, Kalu gained a full scholarship to study at the HBCU Savannah State University in Savannah, GA.
Aside from winning the university’s first MEAC Championship in 2015, the Nigerian-American shone brightly on the academic front, graduating with a B.A. in African Studies by May 2015.
In 2016, Ezinne Kalu made her debut for D’Tigress (Nigerian women’s basketball team) at the Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Nantes, France, and put up an unforgettable performance against South Korea, knocking down a game-winning shot to help Nigeria win 70-69 after five unsuccessful attempts to down the arc during the game.
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Kalu was part of the victorious D’Tigress squad at the 2017 FIBA Women’s Afrobasket, a tournament she averaged 12 points and 3assists per game. She was also impressive in the 2018 FIBA Afrobasket World Cup where the Nigerian side recorded their first world cup win and made it as far as the quarter-finals.
With an average of 14 points and 3 assists, Kalu was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) at the 2019 FIBA Women’s Afrobasket championship as D’Tigress won the continental showpiece for the second time consecutively.
At the club level, Kalu features for Landerneau BB, a French club she signed for in 2019. Some of her laurels include the 2016 Guard of the Year, Portugal 1st Division; 2017 Defensive Player of the Year, Budapest 1st Division; and 2020 Guard of the Year France 1st Division, among others.
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