27 July, 2021
01 August
4 Juste Jocyte (LTU)
to read

10 standout performers at the FIBA U18 Women's European Challengers

MUNICH (Germany) - The FIBA U18 Women's European Challengers provided us with another exciting glance into the future with an array of emerging talent on display on the international stage.

Cyprus, France, Portugal, Serbia and Slovenia all celebrated Challengers titles with several standout individual performers across the five tournaments in five different cities.

Riga Challenger

Dorja Iva Zaja (Croatia)


Birth date: January 12, 2004 (17 years old)
Height: 185cm / 6'1"

Statistics: 14.6 PTS, 10.2 REB, 2.0 BLK - 19.0 EFF

The title was in Croatia's grasp heading into the final day, but it wasn't to be as they came up short in a three-way tie for top spot - despite the efforts of Iva Zaja. The 17-year-old averaged a double-double in Riga, helping her side to four straight wins before their decisive loss against Portugal. Iva Zaja started with three consecutive double-doubles including a 25-point, 13-rebound display on the opening day.

Ines Vieria (Portugal)


Birth date: September 29, 2003 (17 years old)
Height: 167cm / 5'6"

Statistics: 14.2 PTS, 4.4 AST, 3.4 STL - 12.6 EFF

It was Portugal who stepped up when it mattered most to win the title with Vieira a key component of their success. The diminutive playmaker top scored for the victors with 14.2 points per game with a best of 23 points coming on the first day against Romania. Vieira contributed 6 points and 6 assists in the crucial 16-point success on Sunday with Filipa Barros another leading performer including 14-11-8 in that victory over Croatia.

Klatovy Challenger

Juste Jocyte (Lithuania)


Birth date: November 19, 2005 (15 years old)
Height: 188cm / 6'2"

Statistics: 20.4 PTS, 10.0 REB, 6.2 AST - 26.0 EFF

Age is juste a number. Jocyte may only be 15, but has already made her Senior debut for Lithuania and was the most efficient performer out of the five tournaments. The Lyon ASVEL guard started off with 26 points and followed that display with back-to-back 30+ point games as part of three straight double-doubles. Jocyte had an off shooting night to close out the week, going 1-of-14 for 4 points, though her side still finished with a respectable 4-1 record.

Jovana Boricic (Serbia)


Birth date: May 9, 2003 (18 years old)
Height: 178cm / 5'10"

Statistics: 15.8 PTS, 8.4 REB, 1.6 STL - 18.0 EFF

It was Jocyte who won the MVP award, but Boricic played a big role in helping deliver the title for Serbia as part of a perfect week in Klatovy. The 18-year-old forward had a best of 23 points in what turned out to be an important win over Lithuania as well as 20 points and 11 rebounds to help secure the 5-0 finish on the final day - leading the team in both points and rebounds.

Selin Gul (Turkey)


Birth date: December 21, 2003 (17 years old)
Height: 189cm / 6'2"

Statistics: 13.4 PTS, 9.6 REB, 1.4 BLK - 17.4 EFF

The masked assassin. Gul was a solid performer for Turkey, despite the team finishing with a 2-3 record - top scoring in all but one of their contests. The power forward opened back-to-back double-doubles in two wins from two before adding a third with 18 points against Lithuania, which sparked a run of three tough losses - all decided by single figures to derail their campaign.

Heraklion Challenger

Anaelle Dutat (France)


Birth date: July 3, 2004 (17 years old)
Height: 182cm / 6'0"

Statistics: 9.0 PTS, 6.6 REB, 65% FG - 16.2 EFF

Dutat was one of the shining stars for France as they sailed through the six-team field in Heraklion to claim the title. The 17-year-old forward only averaged 9.0 points per game, but impacted the game in a multitude of ways and scored at an efficient rate of 65-percent when needed to. Dutat was on court for an average of 20.8 minutes per game and played a key role to help France to five straight wins to earn the MVP award with teammate Maia Hirsch also in contention.

Sofia Challenger

Zala Srot (Slovenia)


Birth date: May 15, 2004 (17 years old)
Height: 185cm / 6'1"

Statistics: 11.0 PTS, 11.8 REB, 2.6 BLK - 20.8 EFF

Srot produced a double-double for the week with 11.0 points and 11.8 rebounds per outing alongside an impressive 2.6 blocks having started with 7 blocks across the opening two games. Slovenia ran riot early on in the competition with Srot then pulling down 20 boards to go with 16 points in the title-clinching win against Bulgaria, though their unbeaten record was ended on the final day with Srot held to single figures in scoring for the first time.

Iliyana Georgieva (Bulgaria)


Birth date: October 30, 2003 (17 years old)
Height: 183cm / 6'0"

Statistics: 21.6 PTS, 8.8 REB, 3.6 AST, 2.4 STL - 24.0 EFF

Georgieva led all scorers across the five tournaments to fuel the green machine on home soil with 21.6 points per game as Bulgaria enjoyed a strong week. The 17-year-old forward came out firing with 28 points and then 29 points in the first two games with a double-double following in the crucial loss against Slovenia to end their title hopes. Georgieva then finished strong with 18 points in 17 minutes to ensure Bulgaria finished on a high at 4-1.

Andorra la Vella Challenger

Ylenia Bonett (Malta)


Birth date: July 7, 2003 (18 years old)
Height: 172cm / 5'8"

Statistics: 12.4 PTS, 10.0 REB, 6.6 STL - 18.6 EFF

Bonett was on triple-double watch from the opening day in Andorra la Vella. The 18-year-old guard produced an incredible stat-line with 25 points, 14 rebounds and 9 steals against Moldova before achieving the triple-double a couple of days later with 12-11-12 in the final group game. Bonett also recorded 4 blocks in successive games and helped Malta to the runners-up position - as they were beaten twice by Cyprus - as the MVP.

Sofia Stylianidi (Cyprus)


Birth date: May 7, 2003 (18 years old)
Height: 177cm / 5'10"

Statistics: 14.0 PTS, 8.4 REB, 2.8 AST - 18.4 EFF

Cyprus had several standout performers as they cruised to the title in Andorra la Vella with five wins in as many games. Stylianidi shone brightest - with teammates Ioanna Kyprianou and Panagiota Kyriakou also in the reckoning for MVP honors - saving the best performance for last with a stunning 31-point effort in the Final victory over Malta with eight triples at 57-percent accuracy.