France won yet again in the EuroBasket Women 2009 qualifiers
French players acknowledge supporters: photo credit Ann-Dee Lemour
When we spoke to Isabelle Yacoubou-Dehoui after their last match she mentioned that the team needed to remain forcused for the matches to come. Her words came true as France got off to a flying start to lead (14-6) after five minutes of play.
Croatia managed to stay in touch as they scored each time France turned over the ball. All the same France led (24-16) by the end of the first period.
France were having a field day from beyond the arc as they hit 5-of-6 during the first half of the match. With Céline Dumerc conducting the play, France went into the locker leading (43-30).
It was the turn of the French centres, Yacoubou-Dehoui and Emméline Ndongue, to take over offensive duties as France went on a 11-0 run to start the third period (54-30).
Croatia had to wait almost seven minutes to score from open play while France pushed their advantage up to 20 points (35-55).
France continued to press and went into the final period with a significant lead (65-37).
Pierre Vincent was able to turn his bench during the last ten minutes despite the loss of Clémence Beikes and Florence Lepron for 5 personal fouls. Emilie Duvivier, the only French player not to score in their victory against Romania, scored 5 points during the last few minutes as France went on to win (75-50).
11 players scored for France with only Lepron missing out. Four players were in double digits. Dumerc was the pick of the French players with 11 points and 7 assists in only 17 minutes of play.
In the other game in Group C Hungary came from behind to beat the Slovak Republic in overtime (85-76).
This result means that France just need one more victory to confirm their place in EuroBasket Women 2009 in Latvia.
EuroBasket Women 2009 qualification rules
With the qualifiers reaching its conclusion soon, it is time to explain the qualification procedures for the finals to be held in Latvia in June 2009.
16 teams will participate in the finals next year of which five teams have already qualified: Latvia (fourth place in EuroBasket 2007) as host and the four teams that qualified for the 2008 Olympic games after the EuroBasket Women 2007.
Russia as winners of EuroBasket 2007, Spain, Belarus and the Czech Republic for finishing second, third and fifth respectively have all secured berths for the finals.
At the end of the qualifiers nine teams will qualify for the finals, the first two teams from the four groups and the best placed team to finish in third place.The bottom team from each group will play next year in the relegation group with the bottom two teams dropping to Division B.
For the remaining six teams they will be split into two groups of six and play in the ADditional qualification Round (ADR). These games will be played in January 2009. The winner of each group will qualify for the EuroBasket Women 2009 tournament.
EuroBasket Women Qualifier Group A
Ukraine led the group after surviving a late fight-back by Great Britain to win (80-73).
Ukraine went into the final quarter with a 19-point advantage (71-52). Great Britain, playing at home, managed to score 12 consecutive points (66-73) to set up a tense final three minutes. Ukraine found the resources to hold off the late challenge to take the game and remain top of the group with a 4-1 record.
Great Britain are at the moment 1-4. Their final home game against Germany will determine which of the teams qualify for the ADR.
In the other group game Israel completed the double over Lithuania (76-60). Lithuania that were playing at home fell to third place in the table.
Meanwhile Israel join Ukraine with a 4-1 record but remain second as they lost to Ukraine in their first match.
EuroBasket Women Qualifier Group B
Turkey did not play in this round but have a perfect record with 4 wins from 4 games. They have played a game less than Poland and therefore drop to second place in the current standings.
Poland travelled to Italy and a 26-8 third-quarter blitz helped them secure the victory (76-69) against Italy for the second time in the qualifiers. Italy are currently third in the group. But with a record inferior to Lithuania from Group A this implies for the moment no direct qualification for them.
Bosnia and Herzegovina needed overtime to beat Finland (75-74). In their first encounter Finland won (46-45). Both teams are on identical records and Finland occupy the last position on point average.
EuroBasket Women Qualifier Group D
This group is made of four teams. Presently Greece is perfect with 2 wins as they beat Bulgaria (70-59).
Belgium had to come from behind (29-42) at the interval to beat Serbia (73-60).
Anke De Mondt (left) led the scoring with 20 points while Kathy Wambe contributed 16 points. Calais bound Sara Leemans scored 10 points and claimed 7 rebounds.
This is only the second round of games in the group. Serbia, with no victories, lie in last place.