France already in EuroBasket Women 2009 quarter-final
Céline Dumerc made sure that France's EuroBasket Women 2009 perfect record remained as she chased every ball during the last 10 minutes to secure victory for France (57-55).
Sandrine Gruda led the scoring for France with 18 points and was the only player in double digits. Dumerc scored 7 points and dished out 8 assists.
Agne Ciudarenie and Ausra Bimbaite scored 19 and 17 points each for Lithuania.
You will find some EuroBasket Women Basketball comments in French from Dumerc and Cathy Melain at the bottom of the page.
France are in the EuroBasket Women quarter-final after last-minute victory
There was no time for pleasantries as both teams went on the offensive straight from the tip-off. Céline Dumerc showed a good turn of pace early on before delivering a no-look pass to Emméline Ndongue who then missed the lay-up.
Lithuania were more patient in their build-up and Agne Ciudariene scored the first points of the match as she concluded a fast break.
The two teams continued to play quickly. France struggled offensively against their taller opponents and fell behind (6-2).
Pierre Vincent made some adjustments and France started to find their way to the basket.
Lithuania's pair of Gintare Petronyte and Sandra Valuzyte were causing mayhem for France.
But the introduction of Isabelle Yacoubou-Dehoui and Emmanuelle Hermouet enabled France to draw level (11-11).
Rima Valentiene fired in a trey for Lithuania but two back to back scores from Yacoubou-Dehoui and Florence Lepron enabled France to lead (15-14) at the end of the first period.
The sea-saw battle continued with Ausra Bimbaite firing in a three-pointer for Lithuania to regain the lead.
France managed to remain in touch with Sandrine Gruda (left) and Hermouet scoring.
However Lithuania were able to open the first lead of any significance as Ciudariene started to run the show with back to back scores (25-19).
France were already in team foul problems. They were to fall further behind despite the efforts of Dumerc (21-31) with five minutes remaining in the second period.
Pierre Vincent had seen enough and decided to call a time-out after 16 minutes.
Afterwards three players from Bourges Basket were on the court for France: Ndongue scored.
In the meantime Endéné Miyem's appearance was short.
She was taken off after committing a foul and allowing her opponent to score. Ciudariene also converted the bonus free-throw.
Ndongue continued to battle away and scored from the free-throw line.
Then Ausra scored her 13th point of the game for Lithuania before Gruda concluded the scoring in the second period.
Lithuania went into the locker room leading (36-27).
Their shooting percentage was 52% from the field (15-of-29) whereas France had managed 10-of-28.
France started the second half more aggressively.
But with Gruda scoring only 1-of-4 from the free-throw line they could not reduce the deficit.
Furthermore Lithuania converted all their second-chance opportunities so France trailed by 10 points with less than three minutes played in the third period (30-40).
France continued to allow points to escape from the free-throw line. With Ciudariene containing Gruda, Lithuania maintained their advantage (43-35).
Pierre Vincent decided to call Cathy Melain back into the match as France were outplayed all over the court.
Lithuania did not miss from the charity stripes. They kept on picking up second-chance opportunities.
But France stayed in touch with the energy of Dumerc and the scoring of Gruda and Ndongue.
Lithuania went into the final period leading (48-42).
France stepped up intensity and Gruda was fouled on a drive to the basket. She converted her free-throws.
France still had difficulties with Egle Stakneviciene.
Even when Elodie Godin (right) blocked her, the lose ball fell to Bimbaite who managed to score and draw the foul.
Godin stuck to her task of guarding Stakneviciene. But she also showed her strength in the defensive end as she set up a three-pointer for Dumerc.
Lithuania's advantage was only 4 points (51-47). It was down to 2 points after Emilie Gomis raced from half-court to lay up.
Bimbaite managed to hit a floating jumper just inside the arc for Lithuania to lead again by 4 points with five minutes to play.
Dumerc was everywhere for France. She may be one of the smallest players on the court but when she decides she wants the rebound she would get it.
Gruda scored for France to make it a 2-point game once more with four minutes remaining in the game.
France had the chance to tie the game with three minutes to play. But once again the free-throw jinx hit Yacoubou-Dehoui who failed to connect. Biabaite made France pay for the miss by scoring on the next attack.
Pierre Vincent called for a time-out. Hermouet was called into action and hit a three-pointer in her first touch. France then took the lead as the game entered money-time with Gruda tapping in.
With 59 seconds to play Dumerc tapped the ball away from Bimbaite just as she had crossed the halfway line.
Bimbaite recovered the ball but had one foot on the wrong side of the court and hence was turning the ball over. Vincent called for a time-out immediately.
France did not execute the play as planned. Gruda managed to get fouled when trying to shoot. She split the pair.
Lithuanua had 37 seconds to save the game but did not execute well.
Then Dumerc made the crucial interception and France won (57-55).
EuroBasket Women 2009 audio after match comments Céline Dumerc is delighted with the victory because they had not experienced such a situation during the short preparation.
She went further by saying that they had not prepared for such an ending.
Yet they can look at the positive side in the way the match was won and that the players should be proud of the achievement.
It was not all perfect and errors were made but the essential is that the team won.
Cathy Melain was happy with the victory but she wants everybody to learn from the errors made in the match.
(Note: If you are using Internet Explorer click twice on the triangle)