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Vella Earns Malta Gold in Europe Championship
Yerevan, Aremenia – Forward Ashleigh Vella notched 13 points and eight rebounds in Malta’s 74-65 victory over Armenia to capture the Division C Europe Championship. Vella, who holds dual citizenship in Australia and Malta, helped her country defeat Scotland, Wales, Moldova and Armenia on the way to the gold medal.
“We are excited about Ash’s opportunity to play international basketball. The experience she is gaining is very valuable and will help her to continue to develop as a good forward,” said Head Coach Seton Sobolewski. “It doesn’t surprise me the Ashleigh’s team won the championship. Everything she sets her mind to do she accomplishes it.”
The Bengal scored 13 points in the championship game, hitting 57.1 percent from the field as well as knocking down a trey. Against Scotland, Malta’s first contest of the tournament, she scored seven points and made 12 rebounds during the 64-35 victory.
Malta then defeated Wales 81-43, where Vella posted a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. It was also her most accurate game hitting 58.3 percent (7-of-12) from the field. Her 12 points and 8 assists effort against Moldova helped Malta clinch its appearance in the finals against Armenia, defeating Moldova 85-57. She also chipped in four rebounds.
During the course of the competitions she averaged 12.3 points, 9 rebounds and 4.3 assists, the fifth best mark in the tournament. Vella also was the second best leader in minutes for the tournament average 37.3 per game. Earning Malta a gold medal isn’t a first for Vella as she helped her team capture the championship in the Games of the Small States of Europe held in Cyprus in June of 2009.
-Katie Zigars, Assistant SID
Idaho State Sports Information