Women's national basketball team wins gold at Small Countries European Championship

Women's national basketball team wins gold at Small Countries European Championship

Update 8.28am

Malta's national basketball team won the 2016 FIBA Small Countries Women's European Championship for the third time yesterday after beating Ireland 67-59 in the final. 

Ireland started strongly and were ahead 27-19 at the end of the first quarter. But coach Angela Adamoli’s half-time pep talk must have instilled some much-needed confidence in her players. In fact, Malta hit back strongly to win the next quarter 22-11 and take a narrow one-point lead – 51-50 – before the last session got underway.

Ireland, who trounced Andorra 86-45 in the semi-finals, tried all ways to pierce the Maltese defence but to no avail as Adamoli’s players again outscored their opponents 16-9 for another outstanding triumph at this level of the continental game.

Steffi DeMartino scored 16 points and Christina Grime 15, while Ashleigh Vella played a key role in the victory, contributing with 14 points and 10 rebounds, with Josephine Grima netting 14 points.

Malta won all their matches in the tournament and booked their place in the final after eliminating Moldova with a mammoth 90-30 win on Saturday.

The Moldova girls made up for the upset by beating Andorra 66-50 in the play-off for third place.

Home side Gibraltar claimed the fifth position overall following a 61-47 win over Wales.

The Irish basketball federation was sporting in defeat, saying Malta had been "excellent" and congratulating them on the win. 

The final win comes after Malta routed Moldova 90-30 in the semifinal and beat both Andorra and Gibraltar at the group stages. 

Photo: FacebookPhoto: Facebook

Congratulations stream in

Sports parliamentary secretary Chris Agius was quick to congratulate the team, posting a congratulatory note soon after their victory on his Facebook page. 

In a statement issued by his secretariat, Mr Agius also congratuled Malta Basketball Association president Paul Sultana, the MBA committee, coach Angela Adamoli and all her staff. 

He said the government and SportMalta would back the MBA's efforts to build a tent alongside the existing basketball pavilion in Ta' Qali and ensure maintenance work on the existing pavilion was carried out. 

"Malta's existing sports facilities are limited," the statement noted, "so it is useless building new facilities without taking care of those we already have." 

The Nationalist Party also issued a statement congratulating the team, saying their victory was a clear example of sporting success making an entire country proud. 

The PN, it said, wants increased investment in sports and to ensure sporting activity formed a part of everyone's daily life. 

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