RECAP: Ireland U20 Women cruise past GB to top group
August 04, 2019
The Ireland Under 20 women’s team put in a blistering performance in their second group game at the 2019 FIBA U20 Women’s European Championship Division B in Kosovo this evening, running out resounding 72-58 point winners over Great Britain to top the group unbeaten.
This game was always going to be a tough test for the irish team, with plenty of tricky games between the two sides at this age group over the year, and with Great Britain boasting a strong cast that included an extremely on-form Holly Winterburn and Loren Christie. The Irish were relentless from the start though, with Dayna Finn driving the team forward from the off, finishing out the first half with 17 points and five rebounds to see Ireland into a 42-26 point lead at the break – and she went on to finish with 18 points, eight rebounds, two assists and a steal in a fantastic display.
Indeed there were stars all over the court for Ireland, with a number of players notching up some big stats by the end of the game. A huge performance from Sorcha Tiernan – who finished the game with 12 points and five assists - as well as massive defensive displays from Claire Melia – who notched a double double of 11 points and 11 rebounds - and Rachel Huijsdens, who finished with eight points and nine rebounds, were just a few of the highlights in a superb team performance from the women in green. Maeve Phelan was also another stand out on defense, locking down the threat of Winterburn from early on and putting in huge work for the team across the four quarters. Two big quarters in the second and third for the Irish were truly the winning of the game as they outscored Great Britain 23-8 in the second and 17-9 in the third to drive into a big lead going into the final quarter. Although GB upped the ante in the last stretch, knocking down 23 points in the quarter, the damage had already been done and Ireland ran out deserving winners in the end.
Ireland had the better of the early exchanges in the first quarter, with Finn in fine form to hit 12 points for her side, including two big three pointers. Great work from Melia saw her hit five points to stretch out Ireland’s lead, while good inside work from Huijsdens added another basket to Ireland’s tally. GB weren’t going down easy though, and scores from Winterburn and Teresa Da Silva in the latter stages of the quarter saw them close the gap quickly, with Christie adding two nice baskets to see Ireland lead by just one at the end of the period, 19-18.
A massive second quarter from the Irish followed as they went into lockdown mode defensively, with Phelan doing superb work, along with Enya Maguire, Amy Dooley and Maggie Byrne. A nice move from Amy Murphy saw her add a great score for Ireland, while Tiernan hit the ground running, hitting 10 points in the quarter including a monster step-back three. Finn added another five to her tally, before Maguire and Annaliese Murphy added yet more scores. The defensive intensity from the Irish saw them force a number of turnovers – from which they scored 10 points – and kept GB to just eight points in the quarter. Huijsdens was a force to be reckoned with under the boards, as the women in green were firing on all cylinders and closed out the quarter with a further 23 points to lead 42-26 going in at the half.
WHAT A FINISH TO THE QUARTER— Basketball Ireland (@BballIrl) August 4, 2019
Half time at #FIBAU20Europe it’s Ireland U20W 42-26 Great Britain #COYGIG #GreenShoots
WATCH IT: https://t.co/w67rsoce5V
LIVE STATS: https://t.co/Ner0nMRdbC@OffTheBenchOTB @ballineurope @ballsdotie @HerSportDotIE pic.twitter.com/mTVYcltpiY
Momentum stayed with the Irish throughout the third quarter, with Louise Scannell the star of the early exchanges, knocking down a great shot before draining a long-range three. Huijsdens continued to dominate inside and was rewarded with some great scores for her efforts, while Alison Blaney and Maggie Byrne drove the team forward with some great defensive work. Scores from Annaliese Murphy and another basket from Amy Murphy rounded out a fantastic quarter for the Irish as they headed into the final quarter with a 59-35 point cushion. GB came out all guns blazing in the final quarter, with Christie hitting her rhythm to add 12 points to her tally. Despite the offensive onslaught from GB, Ireland kept their cool, with Melia working in a great score while Maguire sent home a key three pointer. A great basket from Blaney rounded out the scoring for Ireland and though GB had the better of the period, Ireland were comfortable 72-58 point winners in the end.
The win now sees Ireland top their group at European Championships and they have earned a deserved rest day tomorrow as they wait to hear who they will meet in the next round of the competition, with games in other groups taking place tomorrow.
Speaking afterwards, head coach Martin Conroy stated: “That was amazing. The girls played fantastic basketball. You look at the second and third quarter today, we held them to nine points and eight points in both of those quarters, and really pushed out the lead. GB played tough and we knew they’d come at us hard, but I think our defense was phenomenal. We rebounded a lot better than yesterday and we were clinical the other end and we put the ball in the basket.”
IRELAND: Alison Blaney (2), Amy Dooley (2), Amy Murphy (4), Annaliese Murphy (5), Claire Melia (11), Dayna Finn (18), Enya Maguire (5), Louise Scannell (5), Maeve Phelan, Rachel Huijsdens (8), Sorcha Tiernan (12), Maggie Byrne.
Ireland U20 Women’s result
Group Game 2
Ireland 72-58 Great Britain
WATCH BACK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnNItz1uFWs