PREVIEW: Ireland U16W tip off Classification round v Montenegro
August 21, 2019
The Ireland U16 women face Montenegro at 4:15pm Irish time, tomorrow, August 22nd, 2019 in the first round of classification games at the FIBA U16 Women’s European Championship in Sofia, Bulgaria. Ireland are in the 9th-16th classification group.
Ireland come into the game after finishing third in their group, with three wins and two losses. They defeated Austria and Albania in their opening games before suffering a heart breaking one-point loss in their third game to overall group winners Portugal. The girls in green then lost out to second-place Great Britain before they finished their group campaign strongly with a victory over Belarus.
Ireland are led by captain Hazel Finn and Kara McCleane who are averaging 15.5 and 14.8 points per-game respectively. Ella O’Donnell leads the team in rebounds, bringing in 9.2 boards per-game.
Montenegro had a record of two wins and three losses in their group, suffering convincing defeats to Slovenia, Romania and Serbia before redeeming their campaign with victories over Iceland and Bosnia and Herzegovina. They are led by players Marija Lekovic and Jovana Savkovic who are averaging 11.6 and 11.2 points per-game.
Speaking ahead of the game, Ireland U16 women’s head coach Andy Gill stated, “We came agonisingly close to a top-eight spot but after our loss to Great Britain, we channeled our disappointment in exactly the right way with a magnificent performance against Belarus. That part of the tournament is over and we now move onto our first classification game against Montenegro. They had two wins and are very well organised. We will need to impose our style of play against them and aspire to be more efficient in our shooting. A day off has come at the right time and the squad will be ready to go tomorrow afternoon.”