FIBA U19 World Championship for Women France open in front of 2000 spectators
France started their U19 FIBA World Championship for Women against the hosts Chile in front of the biggest crowd of the day of about 2000 spectators.
Unfortunately the home fans did not have much to cheer about during the first ten minutes as France dominated the affair (22-4).
Chile weathered the storm and played much better for the rest of the game and made scoring difficult for France as they stepped up defensively.
All the same France's big first-quarter advantage was more than enough to see them through (59-36).
Valériane Ayayi (left) and Hélèna Akmouche led the way for France with 15 and 13 points each. Barbara Cousiño was the top scorer for Chile with 13 points.
Jérôme Fournier, the French coach, explained after the game: "I thought Chile played a very good game in defence, and we found it very hard to find good shots and score a lot".
Elsewhere Slovenia did not get the start they wanted as they fell to Chinese Taipei (73-83). Tjasa Gortnar fired in 23 points and picked up 14 rebounds while Nika Baric was restricted to 12 points for the European team. Nina Gabrovsek added 11 points.
In contrast Chinese Taipie had four players in double digits with Yu-Ting Li leading the way with 17 points. Chi-Fang Chang had 11 points while Yu-Chun Wei and Wei-Lin Wang finished with 10 points each.
The three other European teams had mixed fortunes on the opening day of the championship. Brazil had to work hard to get by Spain (71-64). Damiris Dantas was the big player for Brazil scoring 19 points, taking down 14 rebounds and collecting a couple of blocks. Jet lag did not stop Queralt Casas coming up with 16 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals for Spain.
Italy made light work of Egypt (74-56) with 15 points coming from Francesca Dotto. However Hagar Amer compiled a double-double for Egypt with 22 points and 22 rebounds.
Russia almost let a 20-point first half advantage disappear before defeating Argentina (70-51) with Ksenia Tikhonenko scoring 18 points and picking up 10 rebounds.
The USA started the competition as favourite and ended up having an up and down game in seeing off Japan (85-63).
Bria Hartley led the way with 18 points while Stefanie Dolson and Breanna Stewart both scored 13 points whereas Malina Howard added 10 points.
Day one results:
Australia 20-0 Nigeria (walkover) Canada 76-49 China USA 85-63 Japan Argentina 51-70 Russia Chinese Taipie 83-73 Slovenia France 59-36 Chile Italy 74-56 Egypt Brazil 71-64 Spain