Macedonia hosts Basketball U18 European Championship Women Division B 2008

U18 European Championship Women Division B Skopje 2008 Poster

When FIBA Europe awarded the Basketball U18 European Championship Women Division B to Macedonia, it was already known that the competition would not be played at the same time as the U18 Women Division A competition which is not usually the case.

The reason for the delay in the start date of the Division B competition was that the Handball Junior World Championships was also hosted by Macedonia in Skopje. This event finished on 3 August 2008 with Germany becoming world champions.

Competition format

The format of 20 teams means that every team will have one rest day during the group round. As a result there is only one offical rest day on the 12 August 2008.

Thereby the competition schedule is reduced to nine days instead of the customary ten days for European Championships at Division A and Division B level.

Furthermore a last change was made concerning the hall the matches were to be played in. The recently build Boris Trajkovski Arena was replaced by two separate locations in Skopje, the "Sports Hall Jane Sandanski" and the smaller hall at the Kale Sports recreation center.

The teams are divided into four groups of five teams for the first stage of the competition.

Although the draw was conducted with a ranking system based on recent competition, preparation results have indicated that a lot of surprises are on the cards this season.

The competition system is as follows: The top two teams from the group stage will participate in the qualifying round with the teams from Group A playing Group B in one group and teams from Group C and Group D in the second group.

The result of the head to head between the qualifying teams from each group is carried through into the qualifying round. At the end of the qualifying round the top two teams from the new groups qualify for the semi-final.

The winners of the semi-final matches win promotion to Division A and will face each other in the gold medal match while the losing semi-finalists play for bronze.

Teams eliminated from the title race take part in classification round competitions with similar rules to that of the qualifying round. The exception to this rule is that teams, finishing bottom of the group games, will participate in a classification round robin competition for 17th place.

You will be able to find previews for all the groups by following links

Basketball U18 European Championship Women Division B Group A

Basketball U18 European Championship Women Division B Group B

Basketball U18 European Championship Women Division B Group C

Basketball U18 European Championship Women Division B Group D

Basketball U18 European Championship Women Group A

When the draw was made in February Germany had only been relegated from Division A in 2007 and Greece in 2006. Both teams were considered to be the favourites to take the top two places in their groups.

U18 Germany in LuxembourgGermany's preparation this season was not smooth. Their head coach Reiner Chromik decided not to call up the players who participated in the U20 championship.

All the same he has a squad of experienced players that, when they play to their potential, are good to watch.

Their sharp shooter Pia Mankertz will be a player to watch during this championship.

Greece have prepared quietly this season and their actual form is unknown. They recently suffered a 3-0 whitewash against Belgium. The one advantage they have over other teams in the group is that they are used to be playing in the heat.

Per HermannPer Hermann (right) brought his team from Luxembourg early to Skopje and has even had his players play a game to get used to the environment.

Their preparation has gone well and they won some exciting games during the recent U18 Partnership Tournament, held in Luxembourg. The Luxembourg's squad players are all known in the B division. They have the ability and experience to take one of the top spots in their group.

The Austrian team has not changed much over the last four years. Their players now have enough experience to challenge the best sides in the division.

Sarah Schicher will be leading the team offensively. Last season they celebrated their first win at this level as if they had won the championship. They have the ability to surprise any of the teams in their group.

It is nice to see Switzerland having entered a team this season. They are currently reorganising their youth international basketball programme for women. On paper they are the weakest team in the group but they do have an element of mystery.

Basketball U18 European Championship Women Group B

Trinn TeppoThis group consists of four nations that are accustomed to compete in the Division B level at U16 and U18 level. Estonia, on the other hand, is a team with players that have experience in Division A basketball at U16. If there is a group of death then this group just edges Group D.

In fact there are no favourites. Estonia finished 3rd last season but have had only three players including center Triin Teppo (right) from that team in their preparation squad. Estonia completed their preparation with their traditional Baltic Cup competition. The team may not be as strong as last year but have a generation of players who have experienced division A at U16.

Damir Grgic and Saso RebernikThe Slovenian duo of Damir Grgic and Saso Rebernik (left) are well known in the international youth basketball scene.

They have been involved with this generation of players in several U16 championships and were bronze medal winners in 2007.

This is the first time they are leading the U18 side and have Teja Oblakalready displayed how transparent the transition is in their victory in the U18 Partnership Tournament in Luxembourg.

While Nika Baric, the player we all know about, is likely to dazzle with her skills, the return of Teja Oblak (right) to active basketball has added another dimension to their game. At the same time this has taken pressure of Ines Kerin and Lea Jagodic.

Israel are the team with the most complete roster in this group with strong players in all the key positions. Naama Shafir is the leader of this team.

But when you add players like Coral Dolev, Idit Oryon, loisa Katz, Orian Amsalem, Shira Shect and Shira Ben Barak to the roster then this team has potential to go far.

All these players have international experience. With the maturity they have acquired over the last few seasons this could be the year that Israel moves up a division.

Portugal have become a traditional Division B nation in youth basketball. Although very competitive they have not been able to challenge for major honours. Maria Correia will be one of the leaders in the team. She is an excellent three-point shooter and will be joined by Joana Bernardeco and Luiana Livulo who played with the U20 team this season. They also have some of the tallest players on display with U20 experience.

Macedonia are the hosts of the competition and will be hoping that home advantage will work in their favour. They entered the competition for the first time in 2007 and finished without a victory. They have built a new team for this edition with an objective on improving on last season.

Basketball U18 European Championship Women Group C

This is the group with the least amount of public information.

2007 was a bleak year for Hungary with both the U20 and U18 teams relegated from Division A. They concluded their low key preparation with a 15-point victory against Austria. On paper they are still considered to be the strongest team in this group.

Bosnia and Herzegovina will be heavily reliant on Matea Tavic who is likely to play the most minutes in the tournament as she should be on court for the full duration of each game.

Finland's preparations have been hit by injuries. All the same Kia Ignatius will be leading the team offensively.

Chatilla van Grinsven The Netherlands started their preparation early this season with games against Division A U18 sides. They have added three players from the U20 side to their final roster including 1m95 Karina van den Nieuwendijk. Her addition is likely to create more space for Chatilla van Grinsven (right) to work in.

Denmark participated for the first time last year in this competition and surprised Ireland in their first game (55-50).

They finished the tournament on a high note by winning their last game to avoid finishing in last position. Seven members of that squad are still on the roster for this year.

If their record in national school competitions is anything to go by then they could be the dark horse of the tournament.

Basketball U18 European Championship Women Group D

This group is close to Group B in terms of the title group of death.

Belgium will like to return to Division A, while Latvia are looking to one place better than last year when they won bronze. Ireland finished 8th last year, their best result ever and are looking to do better. You can also never write off England. Scotland may be the team with the least experience. Yet they showed last year that they can be competitive before being hit by a stomach bug.

With the absence of Sweden, Romania and Italy from Division B, only Latvia remain from the 2006 U16 championship Division B from the top 4 where they finished second to Sweden. The Latvian U16 team, coached by Martins Zibarts, then went up to division A. The 1990 generation now hopes to do the same for the U18.

Zibarts is back in charge of this age group. If he decides to call up U20 players such as Sabine Niedola, Anete Steinberga (MVP 2006 U16 Div B) and 1m96 Kristine Vitola, they will have the most impressive roster in this basketball U18 European championship women tournament.

Even without these players they have notched up impressive victories in their preparations and will start this competition as one of the favourites.

Belgium U18 team

Belgium have just added Noémie Mayombo to the squad. She and Jana Raman played with Belgium during the U21 world championships last year. Belgium are looking to get back into Division A and with three-point shooter Kim Mestdagh and power forward Anne-Sophie Strubbe they have all the elements to do well.

Charlotte Stoddart England have not had the best of records in U18 competitions. But this year's roster sees eleven players that have played in European Championships before. They also have a GB U20 bronze medal winner from 2007. Charlotte Stoddart's recent injury scare is a concern as she is one of the most experienced players in the squad.

Ireland finished 8th last year around and are hoping to improve on that this time around. The squad is based around the O'Reilly twins and Clare Rockall. They have a strong tradition in Division B basketball and are a team that others do not like to play.

Scotland are the unknown team in the group and will be looking to Maria Buchan offensively.

Basketball U18 European Championship Women Division A news from the final day

Return from Basketball U18 European Championship Women Division B to "What's New" page

Return from Basketball U18 European Championship Women Division B to youth international basketball index

Basketball U18 European Championship Women Division B picture credit:
Trinn Teppo (Estonia) - Siim Semiskar (
Belgium U18 Team - V. Deblock (

Date created: 05 August 2008

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