GAME ZONE: Ireland v Denmark (U16 Series)
March 29, 2016
Sunday April 3rd, 2016
U16 Womenâs International
Ireland made it a clean sweep against Denmark in Copenhagen on Sunday morning with a dominant performance on both ends of the floor.
The first quarter was back and forth to begin, with both teams trying to assert themselves physically. With the score tied at 6 apiece, Maeve O Seaghdha checked in to dominate the rest of the quarter, leading Ireland on a 13-2 run to finish the quarter. Full court pressure was once again paying off for Ireland, with Dayna Finn taking 4 of her 7 steals in the quarter. Ella McCloskey finished a beautiful spin move at the shot clock buzzer while Bronagh Power Cassidy knocked down a big jumpshot at the end of quarter buzzer to give Ireland a 19-8 lead at the break.
The 2nd quarter was much of the same with Denmark having no answer for Ireland's ball-pressure. The Irish guards were playing up in the passing lanes causing tips and deflections, making it very difficult for Denmark to get into any rhythm offensively. Annie Murphy continued her excellent play for the weekend, taking 3 of her game-high 8 steals while once again Vice-Captain Maeve Phelan was excellent on both ends of the floor, getting into the lane and finding open cutters on offence and snuffing out any Danish penetration at the other end. Abby Flynn found Maeve Cannon with a beautiful assist to send Ireland in at halftime, leading 36-16.
The 3rd quarter saw Ireland go to a bigger lineup and proceed to hurt Denmark inside with Niamh Masterson scoring easily and Maeve Cannon with excellent movement inside scoring freely. The entire second half however was all about Ella McCloskey's complete dominance of the Danish forwards. McCloskey scored in every way possible, finishing with 16 points (On 8 for 10 shooting), 7 rebounds and 3 steals, almost all racked up in the 2nd half.
The 4th quarter saw Ireland's superior conditioning shine through as they extended their lead further. Nicole Clancy ripping the ball out of a Danish guard's hands and finishing a layup while Enya Maguire made the Danish defense pay for coming under a screen as she knocked down a big 3. Although Ireland played zone, their intensity never dropped as Ali Blaney does what she does best, galloping up the floor after taking a steal to finish a contested layup.
After a fantastic team performance on both ends of the floor, Ireland ran out convincing 77-28 winners.
All in all it was a fantastic weekend for players and management who all got better and learned a lot. As excitement builds for the European Championships in August, the team are one weekend closer and one weekend better. Roll on Romania!
Ella McCloskey: 16 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists
Dayna Finn: 9 points, 7 steals, 2 assists
Maeve Cannon 9 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals
Annie Murphy 4 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists 8 steals
Saturday April 2nd, 2016
U16 Womenâs International
Like the previous game, Ireland started the game brightly with 5 quick points for Niamh Masterson a beautiful pass from Dayna Finn falling out of bounds for Enya Maguire and capped off with a fantastic no-look pass from Maeve Phelan to find Ella McCloskey open under the basket for an easy two. Unfortunately for Ireland, sloppy turnovers allowed Denmark to score easy baskets in transition and some poor defensive rebounding gave up needless 2nd-chance points. Ireland went in at the break trailing 21-20
The 2nd quarter was a much better all around display. Annie Murphy came in and was a rock at the point guard position while Maeve Phelan put in a masterful defensive display covering every inch of the court and defending every position. Ireland's full court pressure really started to tell, with 9 steals in the 2nd quarter alone, holding Denmark to just 7 points while on the offensive end, Ireland were moving the ball sharply with Ella finding Maeve Phelan backdoor for 2 of her 5 2nd quarter points while Maeve O Seaghdha was instrumental at the back of Ireland's zone. Ireland went in at the half up 46-28
The 3rd quarter saw Ireland extend their lead to 19, until three 3's back to back to back from Denmark in the space of less than a minute meant all of a sudden we were in a game again with 3 minutes to go in the quarter. Maeve Cannon scored a beautiful reverse layup while Abby Flynn finished an up-and-under for some much needed scoring while Enya Maguire's rebounding at the back of the zone (Finishing as leading rebounder with 9 rebounds) were crucial to Ireland keeping a double digit lead. Ireland went in at the end of the quarter up 56-46
The 4th quarter was a dog-fight, back and forth, from start to finish. Luckily for Ireland, Team Captain Bronagh Power-Cassidy was up for the fight; doing all of the things that aren't necessarily glamorous but are necessary to win, bumping cutters, playing excellent help defence and coming up with some huge rebounds and steals when her team needed them most. Along with hitting clutch free throws down the stretch, Annie Murphy hit a huge jumpshot to stop a Denmark run and steady the nerves. Nicole Clancy came up with some big steals at crucial moments. The biggest score of the game however went to Ali Blaney who, (with 35 seconds left and Denmark having cut the lead to 5 and on a huge run and the crowd at deafening levels), crossed her player over, drove left and hit a huge pull up jumpshot with picture-perfect mechanics from 15 feet to ice the game.
It wasn't pretty to watch at times but Ireland showed great character. When the scoring dried up in the 2nd half, we were able to grind out a win in a difficult environment.
Annie Murphy 10 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals
Maeve Phelan 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assist, 5 steals
Ella McCloskey 9 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals
Dayna Finn 8 points, 5 rebounds, 5 steals
Enya Maguire 7 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists
Friday April 1st, 2016
U16 Womenâs International
Excellent first quarter, opening up 25-7. with 9 points from Dayna Finn along with 3 steals. Maeve Phelan was all over the floor with steals rebounds and scores.
Denmark shot the ball well in the 2nd quarter and closed the lead to 9 at one point but some excellent shooting from Enya Maguire and the relentless pace Annie Murphy and Abby Flynn created kept them at bay. Denmark's offensive rebounding was also taking its toll.
Halftime Score (43-32)
Ireland won the 3rd quarter 22-4 racking up 10 steals in the quarter and helped by 7 points from Abby Flynn and some fantastic rebounding and defence from Ali Blaney
The 4th quarter was all about Enya Maguire, who scored 11 points and had 4 steals in the quarter while Ella McCloskey dominated the boards to finish with 9 rebounds.
Fulltime Score (81-50)
Team finished with 37 Steals for the game
Dayna Finn: 20 points, 4 Rebounds, 4 Assists, 5 Steals
Enya Maguire: 19 points, 6 Steals
Abby Flynn: 9 points, 5 steals
Ali Blaney: 4 points, 8 rebounds, 3 Assists, 5 steals