Juhasz and Co ready to make up for what might have been
SOPRON (FIBA U18 Women’s European Championship 2016) – Host nation Hungary have every right to be confident of posting a strong showing at this year’s edition of the FIBA U18 Women’s European Championship 2016.
With the benefit of home support behind them and a true legend of the European women’s game in Dalma Ivanyi to call upon as part of the coaching staff, Hungary can also count on the bitter taste in the mouths of those 1999-born players making the move up.
The initial candidate list includes some seriously talented performers in the likes of Dorka Juhasz and Reka Lelik who, much like their team-mates from last year’s FIBA U16 Women’s European Championship, will want to make up for missing out on what might have been.
|Hungary 19-player squad for FIBA U16 Women’s European Championship 2016:
For Hungary were the talk of the tournament in Matosinhos as they won their first five games of the competition – and in comprehensive fashion. Their classy passing and interior play, mainly through the silky Juhasz who led the way in both points and rebounds, had people penning them as champions elect and a lock for a place at the FIBA U17 Women’s World Championship.
Yet neither would come to fruition.
Amidst utter despair, Hungary lost their next three games and while all were by less than four points in absorbing match-ups, it only made the experience all the more agonising as they suffered a rather crushing double disappointment.
Hungary's FIBA U16 Women's World Championship dreams came undone at the hands of Latvia
Having the chance to bounce back and to do it on home soil will be a real boon for those who missed out on their global dream of competing in Zaragoza later this month.
The other alluring carrot in front of them is that this year’s FIBA U18 Women’s European Championship will offer spots for next year’s FIBA U19 Women’s World Championship and that is yet more motivation.
Throw in the fact that Hungary have not landed a podium spot at U18 level for some twelve years and had to survive a relegation scare at the 2015 edition, the reasons are there for hoping they can really do something memorable this time around.
Croatia, Slovenia and France will be waiting to give the home side an initial test of their credentials when Group D gets underway.