RECAP: Inspired Ireland U16 women defeat Belarus
August 20, 2019
The Ireland U16 women defeated Belarus 67-59 in their final group game at the FIBA U16 Women’s European Championships in Sofia. To guarantee a place in the quarter final, Ireland needed to win the game by twelve points or more.
The first quarter saw both teams start evenly, picking up scores off fast breaks and putting in good defensive efforts in the paint. Ireland built a small lead in the first, with help from Hazel Finn and Sarah Hickey. Kara McCleane led Ireland on the break as her speed and skill allowed her to make a couple of scores and give her side the lead at the end of the quarter, 19-11.
Belarus came back into the game in the second led by Maryia Anishchanka and Uladzislava Kushner, whose speed and agility caused problems for Ireland on the break. Sophie Moore and Paris McCarthy hit some nice jump shots for the Irish but temporary lapses in defence allowed Belarus to make scores without reply, leaving Ireland down 32-35 at half time.
Belarus maintained and built on their lead for the majority of the third, thanks to Palina Kastsiukavets who nailed multiple three-pointers to give her side a substantial lead. Slowly, but surely, Ireland fought back to regain the lead with help from Hickey and Finn as they led 50-48 going into the fourth.
The lead changed hands multiple times in the fourth and at one stage it seemed that Belarus would be able to hold on for the win. However, Finn and Hickey, who both finished the game with double-doubles, continued to score and hustle on defence to force Belarusian turnovers and come away with the win, 67-59.
After the game, Ireland U16 women’s head coach Andy Gill stated, “Unfortunately we were four points short of guaranteeing a place in the top eight but it’s quite a feeling to be disappointed after beating a team like Belarus. We managed some incredible defensive performances, the players are overjoyed and hopefully Austria can do us a favour by defeating Great Britain.”
Ireland awaits the result of the Austria v Great Britain game to determine final group standings.
GAME 5 - TEAM AND SCORERS:
Sophie Moore (4), Sinead Keane, Sarah Hickey (18), Michelle Ugwah, Hazel Finn (14), Kate Kelly (2), Tania Salvado-McCormack, Kara McCleane (13), Miah Ryan, Paris McCarthy (4), Ella O'Donnell (7), Casey Mulvey (5).
Tuesday, August 20th
Group Game 5
Belarus 59-67 Ireland
WATCH BACK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jw_4q4BnGNw