Ireland head coach James Weldon could hand FIBA Women's EuroBasket debuts to three players when France visit the National Basketball Arena for the opening game of their qualifying campaign, live on TG4 this Sunday.
Guards Jessica Scannell and Kate Hickey, along with forward Lauryn Homan are included in his final 12-women squad.
Scannell returns to the fold for the first time since 2009, having excelled for Geelong United Supercats in the second tier of basketball in Australia this season. Kate Hickey joins sister Sarah in the squad on the back of a strong start to the MissQuote.ie Super League season for SETU Waterford Wildcats that sees her averaging 15-points per game, while Lauryn Homan is rewarded for her form alongside captain Edel Thornton for Gurranabraher Credit Union Brunell. Both Hickey and Homan featured in Ireland’s friendly win against Austria in August.
Killester’s Claire Melia is available after she missed out on that victory, with Rachel Huijsdens of FloMax Liffey Celtics set to make her first appearance for Ireland since a narrow 59-56 loss to the Netherlands in November 2022.
Head Coach James Weldon said: “I’m delighted with the squad I’ve been able to assemble for a very tough, but exciting opening game of our FIBA Women’s EuroBasket qualifiers. When you draw a team of the calibre of France, who boast talent from the WNBA, EuroLeague Women and FIBA Euro Cup, it should be a challenge that you relish as a player and coaching staff. We are all really looking forward to meeting that challenge head on with a big crowd behind us on home court.”
Edel Thornton takes her place despite picking up an injury during Gurranabraher's Credit Union Brunell's win over The Address UCC Glanmire a week ago, while Sorcha Tiernan and Áine O'Connor will be aiming to bring the success of FloMax Liffey Celtics' unbeaten start to the domestic season to the international stage.
Ireland begin their FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2025 qualifiers at home to world number seven France, before provisionally facing Israel in February 2024. That game was due to take place on Thursday before being postponed by FIBA due to the ongoing conflict in the region. Tickets can be purchased for this Sunday’s fixture here.
Jessica Scannell (Geelong United Supercats, Aus), Michelle Clarke, Claire Melia (Killester), Sorcha Tiernan, Áine O’Connor, Rachel Huijsdens (FloMAX Liffey Celtics), Sarah Hickey, Kate Hickey (SETU Waterford Wildcats), Edel Thornton, Lauryn Homan (Gurranabraher Credit Union Brunell), Hannah Thornton (DCU Mercy), Bridget Herlihy (Ensino Lugo CB, Spa).
Ireland v France, 1700, National Basketball Arena, Dublin, Live on TG4