Ireland were beaten 82-60 by the Netherlands in their opening FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2023 Qualifier in Amsterdam, undone by a strong opening quarter from the home side.
Claire Melia top scored for Ireland on 16 points, co-captain Edel Thornton also impressed with a 15 point haul, along with five assists and two steals, while Dayna Finn had nine points and seven rebounds.
The Dutch raced to an early 8-0 lead, before Edel Thornton got Ireland off the mark two and a half minutes in, to trail 8-2.
Melia came up with a big three-pointer midway through the opening quarter to cut the deficit to 16-5. Melia had five points in the quarter. Ireland's other co-captain, Grainne Dwyer, had the last say in the quarter with her two point jump shot, as Ireland trailed 31-10.
Finn took a heavy fall early in the second quarter, which saw her take a break on the sidelines to ice her elbow area, but thankfully emerged later in the quarter showing no ill-effects.
Ireland visibly grew in confidence, a layup from Edel Thornton with a little under four minutes gone in the second quarter saw James Weldon’s side trail by 16 points, 34-18.
Hannah Thornton converted one of her two free throws with two minutes to go, followed shortly afterwards by a two point jump shot from Dwyer to make it 43-23.
Ireland again picked up the final score of the quarter.
Anna Kelly’s three-point attempt was missed, but scooped up by Finn, who followed with a layup, but the Netherlands still led 46-25 at half-time.
Ireland out-scored their opponents 20-15 in a strong third quarter, with Melia and Edel Thornton to the fore, as their conversion rate at the basket improved.
The visitors had a six-point scoring run started by Melia, The Address UCC Glanmire player with a three-point jump shot, the assist provided by Thornton. The roles were reversed moments later for another three and Ireland cut the Dutch advantage to 52-35 midway through the quarter.
Sorcha Tiernan’s layup made it 60-44 with less than two minutes to go. The scoring in the quarter was completed when Hannah Thornton converted one of her two free throws, to make it 61-45.
Ireland couldn’t bring the scores any closer in the final quarter, by the time Janis Boonstra had downed both of her free throws four minutes into the quarter, the home side led by 22 points, 70-48. Edel Thornton picked up a couple of layups, to help reduce the deficit, but the Dutch closed it out to win 82-60.
There are still tickets available for Ireland's next qualifier against the Czech Republic in Tallaght on Sunday.