RECAP: Ireland U18 Women 77-57 Ukraine
August 09, 2017
FIBA U18 Women’s European Championship Division B
Wednesday, August 9th, 2017
National Basketball Arena, Dublin
The Ireland Under 18 women's basketball team recorded their fifth consecutive victory of the FIBA U18 Women’s European Championship Division B this evening, finishing out 20-point victors over Ukraine (77-57) to remain top of Group D and march on to the quarter-finals unbeaten.
The squad will most likely play Israel in Friday’s quarter-final clash of the FIBA European Championships in Dublin, as the tournament hosts became the first ever underage Irish side to come through the group phase unbeaten with a 77-57 point win over Ukraine at the National Basketball Arena.
Tommy O’Mahony’s side have a rest day before their last eight clash with Israel, and it’s much needed according to their head coach.
“That was the toughest game we’ve had in the tournament so far,” he said. “It was certainly the first time they were really tested. They hit seven shots in a row to really dig themselves out of a hole and it’s not something we’ve not done so far. It’ll serve us well heading into the quarter-finals.”
Indeed, Ireland struggled with Ukraine’s physicality and the reach of 6’5 centre Tetiana Havrylchyk in particular. Foul trouble gave Ukraine 11 points from the free-throw line and they drew level at 15-15 with a determined drive from Viktoriia Kovalevska after seven minutes.
It took some inspired play from Rachel Huijsdens to keep Ireland ticking over and they managed to lead 24-17 behind a 6-0 run from Huijsdens, Amy Murphy and Maeve Phelan.
Ireland’s remarkable team work allowed them to push clear in the second quarter. Ukraine had clearly done their home work to put bodies in the paint so Claire Melia and Huijsdens turned providers, combining for 15 assists.
Ireland were comfortable shooting from distance. By half time, the lead was out to 47-30 with Louise Scannell, Bronagh Power Cassidy and Phelan all assured at the perimeter.
A 12-0 run either side of the third quarter break made a real game of the second half. Ukraine reeled in a 23-point lead to just 7 points and it took three nerveless free-throws from Bronagh Power Cassidy to settle her side. Dayna Finn’s steal proved crucial in generating momentum as Louise Scannell and Sorcha Tiernan launched three-pointers to bring the crowd back to life.
Maeve Ó Séaghdha admitted afterwards that they needed to regroup after letting the tempo drop.
“It’s not one thing in particular that helps us to raise our game,” she said. “All the girls on the floor needed to give each other a pat on the back and cheer each other on. It comes from ourselves.”
Ireland: Margaret Byrne, *Dayna Finn (6), Annaliese Murphy (2), Sorcha Tiernan (11), *Rachel Huijsdens (11), Maeve Phelan (7), Ella McCloskey (2), *Louise Scannell (14), *Bronagh Power Cassidy (13), *Claire Melia (9), Maeve O’Seaghdha (2), Amy Murphy.
Ukraine: Pasiko Hvichiani, Mariia Semenichenko (10), Viktoriia Kovalevska (9), Anna Hvichiani, Viktoriia Fedorenko, Oksana Fastova (15), Daryna Zavertailo (2)Daryna Dubrovska (2), Kateryna Konenenko, Veronika Liubinets (7), Tetiana Havrylchyk (4), Yana Rabchuk (8).