The Ireland Under 18 Women’s basketball team stormed home to a comprehensive 116-25 point victory over Moldova this evening at the National Indoor Arena in Dublin.
In what was the team’s third game of the FIBA U18 European Championships Division B, Tommy O’Mahony’s charges were in control of proceedings from the off, with Maeve Ó Séaghdha, Maggie Byrne and Louise Scannell all securing some great scores to send Ireland into a 29-7 point lead by the end of the first.
Strong defence by Bronagh Power Cassidy and Maeve Phelan kept the Moldovan offense in check in the second as the visitors tried to find their footing, while Dayna Finn, Ó Séaghdha and Byrne were on hand to punish on the scoreboard at the other end to see Ireland head to the dressing room at half-time, 51-15 to the good.
As quarter three ticked down, Power Cassidy joined Finn and Byrne in scoring double digits, while Louise Scannell brought the intensity back into the Irish team, with clinical fast breaks and well-timed shots. There was rapturous applause in the National Indoor Arena when Annaliese Murphy sank a three-pointer, marking the fact that everyone on the Irish squad had registered a score. The Moldovans tried their hardest to fight back, but the might of the Irish was too strong as they only scored a single point in the quarter, giving Ireland a 94-16 lead going into the last.
Quarter four continued in the same fashion, with clinical Irish passing finding gaps in the Moldovan defence and the Irish side’s defensive rotations proving key as the visitors tried to go on the attack. However, it was Ireland’s day once more as they ran out comforatble winners in the end. The win now tees up a mouth-watering top of the table clash between Ireland and Great Britain as both sides remain unbeaten in the tournament and now meet on Tuesday, August 8th, at 6.15pm at the National Basketball Arena.
Meanwhile, the Ireland U18 men’s team finished their FIBA U18 European Championship Division B with a 63-72 point loss against Luxembourg in Estonia this morning. Despite a strong start from the boys in green, a shaky fourth quarter was where Luxembourg managed to get a firmer foothold in the game and ultimately go on to win.
Speaking afterwards Coach Conor James said: “I’m gutted for the lads that we weren’t able to get a win while we were here. We had more balanced scoring today, but we just couldn’t get it done in the fourth quarter. It was a difficult two weeks, especially losing Cian [Heaphy] and Adam [Drummond] but I felt the guys gave all they had and I just wish we had more to show for it.”
Elsewhere, it was also a tough day on the court for the Under 18 3×3 men’s team in Latvia, as they lost out their quarter-final to Romania earlier this morning, and were unlucky not to pip Ukraine in their second game of the day this afternoon, losing out 14-18 in the end. The second loss today saw Ireland’s hopes of a shot of qualifying for the FIBA 3×3 Europe Cup dashed, but Head Coach, Jason Killeen was happy with his side’s performance.
“We lost out to a very talented and physical Ukrainian side. We had lots of chances and played physically with lots of confidence. We unfortunately had a one-minute lull which allowed them to capitalise on our mistakes and put points on the board. The lads should be proud of their wins in this competition, beating Belarus and Russia will be something we will always remember. This weekend is a reminder that Irish players can compete and beat the best teams in Europe.”
FIBA U18 Women’s European Championship Division B
Group Game 3
Ireland 116-25 Moldova
FIBA U18 Men’s European Championship Division B
Classification: 23-24th place
Ireland 63-72 Luxembourg
FIBA U18 3×3 Europe Cup Qualifiers
Romania 14-12 Ireland (quarter-final – Game 1)
Ireland 14-18 Ukraine (Cup qualifier – Game 2)