Hosts Italy look to soar to top of Group B
UDINE (FIBA U16 Women’s European Championship 2016) – All eyes will be on host nation Italy when Group B of the FIBA U16 Women’s European Championship 2016 swings into action in Udine.
The proud home side will be looking to their star trio of Sara Madera, Elena Vella and Giuila Ianezic to fuel another play for the podium after Italy landed bronze in Matosinhos last summer – although many observers felt they could and maybe should have went all the way.
Since then, their big-hitters have starred at the FIBA U17 Women’s World Championship 2016 when they played a major role in securing a historic silver medal. Madera’s performances were recognised by the fact she had the thrill of being named in the All-Star Five in Zaragoza.
Russia bring tradition of success with them after racking up three podium finishes in the last six editions of this tournament. All-action wing star Daria Repnikova who is yet another product of the endless conveyor belt of talent produced by Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje, is likely to be the on-court leader for the 2014 champions.
Oyku Taksin will bring her experience from Matosinhos to Udine
Turkey have 2015 experience to call upon via Oyku Taksin and Zeynep Gul, who will both be important figures as they look to try and get Turkey into a place to strike for the Quarter-Finals – although that could be tough with three very difficult opponents in this first phase. Meanwhile Fatmanur Karakas of Mersin Universitesi could prove to be one of the new faces to watch out for.
If Lithuania can make a deep run to the latter stages in Udine, then much will have depended on the contributions of Dalia Donskichyte who is an outstanding prospect. She is preparing to play in what will be her third event at this level and was the catalyst for Lithuania bouncing straight back to Division A last summer. Her 16.4 points per game in Ohrid and Struga helped cement a gold medal and she was one of the standout players.
Lithuania will be looking towards the supporting cast to now underpin their headline performer and so far there have been some nice displays during preparation from Kristina Masionyte in particular and she could possibly step in as the second twin turbo alongside Donskichyte. Meanwhile Gabija Segzdaite could also be influential as she was part of last year’s promotion winning team.