Malta women’s coach Angela Adamoli has confirmed her final 12-player squad ahead of the FIBA Small Countries Games in Nicosia, Cyprus at the end of the month.
The roster, cut down from 19 players sees a mix of youth and experience with a senior international debut for a number of players, while others who were part of the squad last year, have not made the cut this time around for the tournament which sees Malta attempt to better their placing from June 28- July 3.
Centre Danika Galea will be the youngest of the pack this year. At just 16 years of age, the Depiro starlet will be looking to make the jump from Malta’s youth squads after a season where she hit 43% from the field and 46% from the line, averaging 7.05 points per game and eight rebounds. She joins three other Depiro players Claire Ciantar, Julia Xerri, and fellow debutant Nicole Agius as the Mtarfa club is set to field the most players on the roster this year.
Similarly, 18-year-old Ylenia Bonett has earned her first senior call-up. The pacy guard, who plies her trade for Hibernians, finished the season with an average of 11.57 points per game, and seven rebounds, and was only second to Malta stalwart, and Hibernians teammate, Ashleigh Van in minutes on court with an average of 37 minutes per game.
Hibernians veteran player Samantha Brincat will be one of the significant absentees this summer, together with UK-based guards Sasha Lecuyer (Leicester Riders) and Julia Borg (Sheffield Hatters). Brincat was, however, part of Malta’s 3×3 squad a few weeks ago when the side was in Nicosia for the Europe Cup qualifiers.
Australia-based Nicola Handreck will be one of the returning players to the squad, as is Van Vliet who had missed out for personal reasons last year. Handreck, currently at the Sunshine Coast Phoenix, joins the squad on the back of a South West Country basketball League championship title in February with the Portland Coasters before joining the Phoenix in the NBL One North in April.
Malta play hosts Cyprus, Kosovo, Andorra, and Norway in a round-robin style tournament.
Last year, Malta missed out on bronze after losing their third-place game against Kosovo, in Cyprus.
Stephanie De Martino, Mikela Riolo (Starlites FIJO); Ashleigh Van Vliet, Ylenia Bonett (Hibernians); Claire Ciantar, Julia Xerri, Danika Galea, Nicole Agius (ARMS Depiro); Josephine Diaby (CAFFE MOAK Luxol); Sophie Abela (University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, US); Kristy Galea (Milligan University Buffaloes, US); Nicola Handreck (Sunshine Coast, Australia).
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