RECAP: Ireland 86, Andorra 45

RECAP: Ireland 86, Andorra 45

  • Jul 02,2016
Saturday July 2nd, 2016
FIBA Women's European Championships for Small Countries Semi-Final
Ireland 86, Andorra 45
Tercentenary Sports Hall, Gibraltar

Ireland’s women will face Malta in the final of the FIBA European Championships for Small Countries after an 86-45 win over Andorra. With both sides pressing high, it was an energy-sapping affair over 40 minutes, but Ireland have no major injury concerns ahead of the gold medal game.

“On to the final,” says Sinead Deegan. “That’s the way these tournaments work – it’s one game after another. We’re delighted with the win but the heads will need to be focused for the final.”

It was a dominant performance for Mark Scannell’s side with Aoife McDermott leading the scoring on 17 points, including 15 in the first half. Captain Grainne Dwyer stormed into the game with 11 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. 

Andorra are the best three-point shooters in the competition and duly nailed their first attempt through Brunet Solano en route to a 7-2 lead.

It didn’t phase Ireland. “Best defensive performance of the tournament,” said Assistant Coach Paul Kelleher. “You can see how we’ve been able to work on some of the details since the start of the programme. Every team has required a different defensive tactic and they’ve adapted really well.”

By the end of the first quarter, Ireland were 24-16 clear but it was the defensive efforts in the middle quarters that gave them the game as Andorra were held to just 15 points in 20 minutes. Claire Rockall pulled down 10 boards while McDermott completed her double-double in the third quarter. 

All 11 players got on the scoreboard for the second time in three games.

Malta were equally impressive in beating Moldova 90-30 in their semi-final. The sides meet in Gibraltar at 17:30 Irish time.  Ireland have never won the women’s tournament but have reached the final on three previous occasions. 

Ireland: Aine McKenna* (5), Sarah Woods* (11), Claire Rockall* (9), Grainne Dwyer* (11), Aoife McDermott* (17), Casey Grace (6), Amy Waters (9), Danielle O’Leary (9), Michelle Clarke (3), Sinead Deegan (4), Aine O’Connor (2).

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