8 players to watch at #FIBAU16Europe Division B in Podgorica
PODGORICA (FIBA U16 Women's European Championship Division B) - When the action gets underway at the FIBA U16 Women's European Championship Division B, there will be a glut of talented players on show.
Here is just a selection of some of those we're looking forward to watching:
Iryna Venskaya - BLR
Venskaya will be looking to lead Belarus on what is proving to be a fruitful summer. They have just been promoted from Division B at U18 and now she must inspire her country to the same at U16. Vensakaya played last summer in Division A and also at the recent FIBA U17 Women's Basketball World Cup in Minsk when she was in the top three of her side for points, assists and efficiency.
Vladyslava Kiba - UKR
Kiba made a big impression at the 2017 edition of this event when she was one of the standout performers for her country at the tournament. Despite being one of the younger members of her nation's roster, she was second in both points and rebounding. Ukraine made the Semi-Finals and only just missed out on promotion, with the player racking up an eye-catching 15 points per outing.
Ioanna Chatzileonti - GRE
One of the most exciting prospects in Greek women's basketball, Chatzileonti was the main thrust of their 2017 promotion challenge when they finished third. In any other year they would have gone up to Division A, but only two spots were open last summer. She was so impressive in leading her team in points, rebounds and efficiency, she was recognized with a spot on the All-Star Five and is the only returning member of that line-up.
Janette Aarnio (FIN)
A shooting guard who is going to have to bring her 'A-Game' to inspire Finland towards the top tier, Aarnio was recently a difference maker in taking her country to the top podium step at the Nordic U16 Championships. She also has previous experience from last summer when she was in the top three for points, assists and efficiency for her team. With big guns like Awak Kuier having moved on, much of the responsibility will fall on her - alongside fellow rising star Kati Ollikainen.
Matilda Ekh - SWE
Ekh is a great prospect who can play multiple positions from the wing or handling the ball, and will make her debut at this event. She has already enjoyed success for her country, since last month when she was crowned MVP of the Nordic U16 Championships as Sweden took the runners-up spot. She is an entertaining top watch and the hopes of those following the Swedish team will largely rest on her shoulders as there are no returnees from 2017.
Adriana Martins (POR)
A Seleção Nacional de Sub16 femininos 🇵🇹 abriu o Torneio Internacional de Guifões com uma derrota frente à Dinamarca 🇩🇰, por 74-54.— FPBasquetebol (@fpbasquetebol) July 20, 2018
Adriana Martins (14pts, 6res, 3as) sobressaiu pelas nossas cores. pic.twitter.com/tskQyZfS5p
Just three years ago, Portugal were appearing in the Division A Final and are determined to make a return to the top flight - especially since they missed out on promotion at U18. Their challenge is likely to be spearheaded by the exciting Martins, who is in great form and was MVP of a recent preparation tournament involving Great Britain and Denmark.
Sara Garic (SLO)
[WABA FINAL4 HIGHLIGHTS]— ŽKD AKSON ILIRIJA (@zkdilirija) April 18, 2018
Kapetanka in MVP turnirja @wababasketball Sara Garić pravi, da so finalne tekme vedno najtežje. Tara Pulević dodaja, da je ekipa #u15 s pravim pristopom in voljo zmožna marsičesa. Trener Alen Ploj je ponosen :).https://t.co/ZnwIg8o81C
Slovenia have some exciting talents and will be out to make up for what has been a crushing disappointment so far. They suffered relegation from both U20 and U18, so unless Garic and her teammates can catch fire and gain promotion, Slovenia will head into 2019 with all their youth teams in Division B. The do-it-all Garic was MVP of the WABA U15 Finals with almost 18 points, 8 boards and 3 assists per game. Look out for other Slovenian talents like Anja Dragar and Ana Vita Mucinovic to shine too.
Uma Bobic (BIH)
An interesting player, Bobic played against opponents two years older last summer in the competition, making a limited impact off the bench. She can still rack up a rare three appearances at this event as she is also eligible next year too. She has shown real progress through the club season at youth level and starred in the WABA U15 League with more than 19 points and 15 boards per game.