Ireland secured third place in Group C of the Women’s 3×3 Basketball Competition of the Baku 2015 European Games with a dominant 20-12 win over Slovakia.
The result means Ireland will avoid a top seed in Thursday’s Round of 16 in the Azeri capital. The draw is to be confirmed later this evening.
Chasing their first win of the games after a disappointing outing against Spain earlier, Team Ireland’s aggressive defence kept the Slovaks in check while 11 points from Grainne Dwyer sealed the victory. “Getting the win is huge,” said team captain Suzanne Maguire.
“[We have] Great confidence going into tomorrow now playing so so well. It’s a pity that game wasn’t shown today and the Spanish game was because that was a lot more fun and a lot more of the basketball that we are playing.”
Maguire believes they’ve set a standard for themselves for the remainder of the competition.
“Super performance by the girls. Everyone’s feeling like that’s how we’re supposed to play. If we play like that tomorrow I think we can give anybody a good shot,” she said.
The European Games mark Irish basketball’s first participation under an Olympic banner since 1948. Ireland qualified for the 3×3 event through last September’s European Championships.
Earlier……. Spain 21- 11 Ireland
Ireland were unable to halt Spain’s unbeaten run at the 3×3 Basketball competition, going down 21-10 on centre court.
Spain conceded more points to Ireland than any other team in Group C, but it wasn’t enough to pull off an upset – The game finished with 44 seconds on the clock as the winners reached the maximum 21 points.
It was a shaky start that did the damage. Spain were tuned in after their earlier 18-10 win over Slovenia and found themselves 9-1 ahead with 7:30 still on the clock. Ireland went score for score with Spain for the last six minutes of the game.
Orla O’Reilly finished with five points while Niamh and Grainne Dwyer scored three apiece.
“Spain are a powerhouse in basketball around the world,” said Grainne Dwyer after the game. “We scored 11 points against them, okay they got us to 21 but they had height and size on us and look, we played really well.” Spain’s team statistics made for impressive reading. They shot at 71% from inside the arc and made 44% from outside for a combined return of 16/26.
The glimpses for Ireland came in the latter stages. Grainne Dwyer pulled off a spin-move into the paint for a late dish to Niamh and an open layup. Orla O’Reilly pulled off two ‘three-pointers’ (worth two points in 3×3) to narrow the gap but Ireland ran out of time and ran off the court to prepare for their final group game.