Malta’s commitments in the Women’s FIBA Small Countries Games come to an end on Sunday when they play Norway in a clash that decides which team will go home with the Silver medal (tip-off: 15.00). The Gold medal is all but secured for Cyprus, who face Andorra in their final game.
Malta missed the chance for the highest honour on Saturday with a 77-67 loss to leaders, and home team, Cyprus. Despite the score, Malta had kept the game to within close margins, and forward Ashleigh Van Vliet believes all of the players were there fighting for the team.
“I’m really proud of the team,” she told the Times of Malta.
“We played to the very end and I felt all 12 girls were there fighting for the team.
“Cyprus are a very good team, one that has been building for many years. Unfortunately, we fell a little short today (Saturday) but we know where we need to focus on and are looking ahead to Norway.”
Any result today will be a step up for Malta’s women from last year’s tournament when they missed out on a medal in the third-place game against Kosovo. This time around, they beat the Kosovars in their opening fixture and cruised past Andorra before Saturday’s game.
“Obviously, we are very disappointed to not be playing for a chance for a gold medal,” van Vliet admitted.
“But we know our destiny is still in our hands as to what colour medal we can achieve. We know we need to play our game in order to get there.”