RECAP: Ireland Under 20 women lose out to sharpshooting Israel
August 07, 2019
There was big disappointment for the Ireland Under 20 women’s team in Kosovo this evening, as they lost out 61-55 to Israel at the FIBA U20 Women’s European Championship Division B.
Despite leading 17-9 at the end of the first quarter, Ireland just couldn’t contain an extremely fast-paced and sharpshooting Israeli side who regrouped quickly at the end of the first quarter, to tie the game level by the midway mark of the second. They went on to hit some big three pointers to stretch the lead out and outscore Ireland 24-13 in the period to hold a three-point lead at half time. A solid third quarter from the Israelis helped them keep in front, with Dor Saar, Romi Levi and Daniel Karsh putting up some big numbers and, despite a big push from Ireland in the fourth quarter, Israel kept just ahead to win out 61-55 in the end.
A strong defensive display by the Irish just didn’t reap rewards on the offensive end, with scores at a premium for the women in green at periods throughout the game. Claire Melia led the charge for the Irish with another solid display, finishing out with a double double of 19 points and 12 rebounds. As the game progressed, Israel did a good job in closing down the offensive threat of Dayna Finn – who hit 10 of her 14-point tally in the opening quarter – but she was a stand out on defense for the Irish as well, pulling down eight rebounds and two steals. Sorcha Tiernan was also on form, notching 11 points and eight rebounds, while there were also very strong defensive performances from Annaliese Murphy, Enya Maguire, Alison Blaney and Rachel Huijsdens. Amy Murphy, Louise Scannell, Maeve Phelan and Amy Dooley all put in some solid minutes for Ireland to keep Israel under pressure – but despite the hard work on defense, the scores just weren’t coming on the offensive end. Turnovers would prove to be key also, with Ireland having 21 turnovers in the game, which the Israelis capitalized on, breaking out in transition again and again.
A big opening quarter from the Irish saw them march into a 13-2 lead early on, with big scores from Finn – who hit 10 in the period – along with baskets from Melia, Phelan and Huijsdens. Big defense from the Irish kept Israel to just nine points in the quarter, to see Ireland lead 17-9 at the end of the first. Israel regrouped quickly in the break between quarters though, and came out flying in the second quarter with Levi adding six points to her tally, and Shely Sirkis also getting in on the scoring action. By the midway point in the quarter they had drawn level, as Ireland had eight turnovers in the quarter which allowed Israel to break out into the fast paced attacking style that they favour. Scores from Tiernan, Scannell, Amy Murphy and Melia followed but Israel held the edge at half time, outscoring Ireland 24-13 in the ten minutes to lead 33-30.
Momentum stayed with Israel in the third, as they outscored Ireland 17-11. A big defensive effort from Ireland saw them force Israel into a number of shot clock violations but unfortunately, the hard work on defense just didn’t always produce scores on the offensive end. Ireland were then dealt a tough blow when Amy Murphy had to leave the game due to injury. Melia and Huijsdens were on hand to drive home some key baskets as the quarter ticked down, but Israel’s Dor Saar had a massive quarter, hitting 13 points for her side to see them lead 50-41 going into the last. With the game very much still in the melting pot, Ireland threw everything they had at Israel in the fourth quarter, and won the quarter 11-14. A big quarter from Tiernan saw her cause trouble for the Israeli defense, while Melia again was on hand to slot home some big scores. Israel had an answer from outside the three point line with Saar and Gili Eisner combining well for some good scores and though the Irish kept pushing hard, time ran out on the comeback and they lost out 61-55 in the end.
Ireland now face into a crucial must-win game against Croatia tomorrow in the final game of Round 2, where a spot in the semi-finals is still within reach for the Irish if they can take the win.
Speaking after this evening’s loss, head coach Martin Conroy said: “It’s disappointing, and disappointing because we know that we can play better. We allowed them to take control of the game after a good first quarter. We gave up way too many turnovers in the game which led to fast breaks and layups and we had to chase the game down coming into the last quarter. To be fair to Israel, they did a good job scouting us. We will learn from it and make sure that we’re ready for a huge game tomorrow night now.”
Tomorrow’s game against Croatia will be streamed live on the Basketball Ireland Facebook page from 6pm.
IRELAND: Alison Blaney, Amy Dooley, Amy Murphy (2, inj.), Annaliese Murphy, Claire Melia (19), Dayna Finn (14), Enya Maguire, Louise Scannell (3), Maeve Phelan (2), Rachel Huijsdens (4), Sorcha Tiernan (11), Maggie Byrne.
Ireland U20 Women’s Team Result
Wednesday, August 7th
Game 1, Round 2
Israel 61-55 Ireland
WATCH BACK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ly5jmFltDDQ