The Latvian U20 women’s team (born 2001 and younger), on Sunday, July 18, in the last game of the FIBA Challenger tournament in Sofia, beat the Bulgarian team – 74:58 (22:16, 42:26, 59:37) and finished in third place. The first place in the group A tournament was won by the Italian U20 national team, which won the title of European champion in the U18 group two years ago.
Even before the game, it was clear that the result would not affect the team’s position in the final table. In the game with the Bulgarian U20 national team, the lack of two center players (due to injuries, Laura Meldere participated in only the first two matches, Paula Mauriņa in only one) did not cause serious problems, as the opponents did not have strong strength in these positions either.
Playing with “small” teams, from the very first minute Latvians tried to maintain a high pace of play, trying to use the advantage in technique and also in the quality of decision-making. He managed to take the lead immediately, and by the end of the half, a decisive advantage was achieved. In the fight against the baskets, the balance (47-47), however, the players of the Latvian national team made mistakes much less often (13-23), made many more assists (22-13) and scored many more points with long shots (12/38 – 2/16; Nullei 6/8).
Latvian U20 national team head coach Mārtiņš Zībarts:
“I am glad that we finished the tournament with good emotions. Overall, the Bulgarian national team was the easiest opponent in this tournament, where any outcome was possible in the top five games.
We could also play better. In the first match with the Belgian national team, there was a lack of practice tests in games with peers. As we adapted to the required speed and intensity, the opponents managed to gain a great advantage. After each game, the girls better understood their roles and acted more coherently as a team. A full-fledged with Italy would be even closer to victory.
Next week we plan to involve Katie Vihman and Vanessa Jas in the training of the national team. It is a pity that due to the injury Laura Meldere was able to participate in only two games. Good tournament for Anita Miķelsone. She is a fighter, quickly perceives the game plan and is able to implement it in the interests of the team. There is still work to be done to improve the technique and stabilize the throw, but there are talents. Seven players will be able to play in the U20 tournament next year as well, including two – even two years, so there is still time to work and progress. ”
Due to the difficult epidemiological situation, the Board of the International Basketball Federation’s European Zone (FIBAEurope) canceled the 2021 European Youth Championships. An informal competition series – FIBA Challengers – will be organized to ensure the practice of the games.
The next Challenger tournament will feature the Latvian U18 girls’ team, which will play with junior teams from Russia, Germany, Portugal, Croatia and Romania from July 27 to August 1 in Riga, Daugava Sports Hall.
FIBA U20 Challenger, A grupa
Group B (Sopron): Hungary 4-1, Serbia 3-2, Czech Republic 3-2, Spain 3-2, Israel 2-3, Ireland 0-5.
Group C (Horse): France 5-0, Poland 4-1, Russia 3-2, Turkey 2-3, Belarus 1-4, Portugal 0-5.
Latvian U20 women’s team
|Name and surname||Dz.g.||Item||Aug.||Sports School||Klubs’2021|
|Throw Null||2001||1.||169||Riga / Rīdzene||LA Hall University, NCAA|
|Katrīna Trankale||2002||1.||172||Liepāja SSS||SBK Liepāja|
|Ketija Vihmane||2001||2.||178||3.BJSS||SBK Liepāja|
|Līna Loceniece||2002||2.||174||Liepāja SSS||SBK Liepāja|
|Vanesa Jasa||2003||2.||180||Kolibri / 47.vsk.||Latvian University|
|Paula Kļeščova||2001||2./3.||179||Liepāja-Rīdzene||Riga / Juniors|
|Marta Leimane||2003||2./3.||181||Kolibri / 47.vsk.||Latvian University|
|Anita Miķelsone||2001||3,.4.||178||Riga / TTP-1||Latvian University|
|Paula Mauriņa||2002||4.||178||Riga / Jugla||Hartford, NCAA|
|Nikola Priede||2003||4./5.||183||Riga / Rīdzene||Riga / Juniors|
|Elīna Sičeva||2002||4./5.||185||Riga / Jugla||Latvian University|
|Laura Meldere||2001||5.||190||Riga / TTP-1||Umana Reyer, ITA|
|Mārtiņš Zībarts||Head coach|