Ireland senior women’s head coach James Weldon has named four uncapped players in his extended 17-person squad for the upcoming FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2023 Qualifiers.
The national side come into the qualifiers off the back of a second-place finish at the FIBA Women’s European Championship for Small Countries earlier this year.
Ulster University’s Abigail Rafferty and WIT Waterford Wildcats player Kate Hickey both represented Ireland at the FIBA U20 Women’s European Challengers in Hungary during the summer.
On top of this, Trinity Meteors power forward Sarah Kenny has also previously been capped at underage level.
Maura Fitzpatrick has been called up for the first time, with the Connecticut native currently playing for Gloucester City Queens in the WBBL.
Fitzpatrick is not the only overseas-based player in the squad – Anna Kelly, who is with Belgian club Spirou Ladies Charleroi, has also been selected.
12 Irish clubs are represented in the squad, with three players from DCU Mercy, and two each from Trinity Meteors, Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics and WIT Waterford Wildcats.
Ireland will play their opening qualifier against the Netherlands in Amsterdam in two weeks time, on November 11th, followed by a match against the Czech Republic on November 14th at the National Basketball Arena, in Dublin.
Ireland are in Group I of qualifying which also contains Belarus, who they will face in the second FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2023 Qualifiers window, in November 2022.
Speaking on the announcement, head coach James Weldon said: “The team are excited to be back playing at the highest level internationally, but are also keenly aware of the formidable challenges that lie ahead.
“We are looking forward to getting the team together during the international break in November. The process of rebuilding the team will continue over the three international windows as players learn to play at this elite level.”
Ireland Women’s Squad – FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2023 Qualifiers
PG – Anna Kelly (Spirou Ladies Charleroi)
PG – Edel Thornton (Singleton SuperValu Brunell)
SG – Dayna Finn (Trinity Meteors)
SG – Lynn Tunnah (Griffith College Templeogue)
SG – Maeve Phelan (DCU Mercy)
SG – Sorcha Tiernan (Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtic)
C – Claire Melia (UCC Glanmire)
C – Hannah Thornton (DCU Mercy)
C – Stephanie O’Shea (WIT Waterford Wildcats)
SF – Kate Hickey (WIT Waterford Wildcats)
SF – Maura Fitzpatrick (Gloucester City Queens)
SF – Michelle Clark (Killester)
PF – Abigail Rafferty (Ulster University)
PF – Áine O’Connor (Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtic)
PF – Gráinne Dwyer (Fr. Matthews)
PF – Rachel Huijsdens (DCU Mercy)
PF – Sarah Kenny (Trinity Meteors)