RECAP: Ireland U20 Women 42 - 68 Belarus
July 10, 2017
FIBA Under 20 Women's European Championship Division B
Monday, July 10th, 2017
Despite falling to Belarus on a score line of 68 to 42, there were plenty of improvements by the Irish team in their third game of the U20 European Championships.
Coming into the game against the undefeated Belarus team, Ireland were heavy underdogs yet went toe to toe with their opponents for much of the first half. Leading the way was Anna Kelly again as she started the game with a strong three-point play to give Ireland the lead. Despite shots not falling for Ireland the most noticeable change from last night’s loss to Israel was the team’s aggression and ability to mind the basketball. With their defence forcing turnovers too, Ireland were well in the game with three minutes to go in the first and the score tied at eleven apiece.
As the second quarter progressed the defence from Belarus kept a limit on Ireland but the girls in green would not let up easily. Great scores from Creane and O’Halloran kept the score board moving while the Irish defence was keeping Belarus within touching distance. Anna Kelly continued her fantastic play with an incredible nine points, seven rebounds and five steals in the first half. The big regret for the Irish team in the first half were the eight missed free throws that could have had the score closer at the half. As the teams headed to the changing rooms the score was 32-21.
Offense remained the challenge in the third quarter despite creating good looks at the basket. Better outside shooting from Belarus saw them open a larger lead. A beautiful three point shot from Mae Creane gave Ireland hope but at the end of the third the score was 52-31.
Ireland continued to battle throughout the fourth quarter and Aisling McCann was rewarded for her hard work with a lovely inside move. Unfortunately, Belarus were starting to score more efficiently and the score ended up 68 to 42. Despite the score, this was a battling Irish performance against a Belarus team expected to contend for promotion to Division A.
Speaking afterwards, Head Coach Maeve Coleman reflected: “We started much better today and I was really happy with how the team came out from the start. We clearly learned some lessons and we did much better in our key focus areas of limiting turnovers and being more aggressive. Ultimately Belarus pulled away but that was down to the quality that they had more than anything we were doing wrong."
"I was also really happy with a number of the individual performances. I got to give some great experience to Nicole Clancy and Alison Blaney who are both on our u17 squad so for them to come in and compete at this level was brilliant to see”.
IRELAND: Aisling McCann (2), Alison Cleary, Alison Blaney, Anna Brennan (7), Anna Kelly (11), Aoife O'Halloran (8), Chloe Mullins (2), Ciara Wheeler (2), Katie Whelan (1), Laura Fortune (2), Mae Creane (5), Nicole Clancy (2).
Ireland U20 Women's squad: http://www.basketballireland.ie/u20women/
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