RECAP: Ireland 77, Moldova 53

RECAP: Ireland 77, Moldova 53

  • Jun 29,2016
Wednesday June 29th, 2016
FIBA European Championship for Small Countries 2016
Group A: Ireland 77, Moldova 53
Tercentenary Sports Hall, Gibraltar. 

Ireland’s Women secured top spot in Group A and qualification for the semi-finals at the FIBA European Championships for Small Countries with a 77-53 win over Moldova. 

It was a tougher test than the scoreline suggested as the Moldovans paid for their uncompromising defence with the loss of Ana Gavrilita on five fouls after just 22 minutes. They were up seven points in the first quarter and were shooting at 75% from the three-point line in the opening half. It prompted a change from the bench. 

“We executed a zone press and I think it caught them a little bit by surprise to be honest,” said Assistant Coach Francis O’Sullivan. The 28 degree heat was felt in the halls of Gibraltar’s Tercentenary Sports Centre and Ireland made full use of their bench in regaining the lead. It was substitutes Danielle O’Leary and Sinead Deegan who led the charge in the second quarter before a 6-0 run from Claire Rockall put Ireland in the driving seat. 

Moldova were penned inside their own back court for long periods as Ireland finished the game with 20 steals and built a 46-27 lead by half-time. It was a high-octane showing that yielded 30 points from fast breaks, but the win also earned an extra day’s rest before the Saturday’s semi-final. 

“They’re as physical a team I’ve seen in a long time,” said O’Sullivan. “In that kind of heat, it’s great that we have such a strong bench to rely on.” 

Danielle O’Leary finished with the game-high 12 points including two triples from two attempts and says there’s more to come from Ireland this week. “We’re still getting used to playing with each other but the team spirit is there. The fact that there’s 11 of us all getting good minutes is helping as well.”

Ireland will learn their next opponents after Friday’s quarter-final.

Ireland: Aine McKenna*, Sarah Woods*, Claire Rockall*, Grainne Dwyer*, Aoife McDermott*, Casey Grace, Amy Waters, Danielle O’Leary, Michelle Clarke, Sinead Deegan, Aine O’Connor, Aoife McDermott.

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