USO Mondeville are 2009 LFB Challenge Round champions
The final match in the LFB Challenge Round was not pretty and only came to life late in the third period when the hosts Challes-les-Eaux hit USO Mondeville 10-0 to set up a tense final quarter.
Somehow Mondeville managed to stop the onslaught and despite losing the game (52-57) held on to win the series (118-111) and qualify for the 2009-2010 edition of the FIBA Europe EuroCup Women.
Kirby Copeland and her problems from the free-throw line
Kirby Copeland (left) was in a position to win the match for Challes-les-Eaux by herself. She drew foul upon foul (8 in total), made some difficult shots and pulled down some amazing rebounds without turning over the ball.
However she missed what appeared to be straightforward opportunities and only managed 4-of-11 from the free-throw line.
Her poor form from the charity stripes infected the rest of the team as they combined for 3-of-7 in the game.
Mondeville only went to the free-throw line on six occasions but they hit the target five times.
The story of the final match in the LFB Challenge Round
The first period was played at pace and Mondeville scored the first 4 points of the match coming from Paolie Salagnac and Rankica Sarenac.
Challes responded with back to back baskets before Lenae Williams knocked down the first three-pointer of the game for the guests to stay in front (7-6).
Copeland began her offensive show (11 points in the first quarter) as the two teams traded baskets for the rest of the quarter. Williams’ 10 first-quarter points allowed Mondeville to lead (18-14) by the end of the first period.
Mondeville struggled in the second quarter as the inside players started to pick up fouls. In addition Sarenac was having a hard time keeping up with the pace.
For Challes Emilie Duvivier (right) became the main offensive weapon with 10 second-quarter points as her side went into the interval ahead (33-30).
Mondeville were not making much effort to score during the third period and were happy to use up 24 seconds on each possession.
This tactic worked as they regained the lead with back to back baskets scored by Ingrid Tanqueray and a tap-in from Sarenac (36-35).
Things became uncomfortable for Mondeville with Sarenac picking up her 4th foul. Already Pauline Jannault had sat out most of the first period with 3 fouls and Naura El Gargati was also in foul problems.
Challes took full advantage and stepped on the accelerator and scored 10 unanswered points to lead (45-36) going into the final period.
Tanqueray and Clarisse Costaz, scored quickly for Mondeville as they put a stop to the onslaught. Jannault, back on the court, hit a jumper to reduce the deficit (44-47).
Copeland put the home team back in control. Her team followed her efforts up by a three-pointer by Silvia Bedu-Janostinova for Challes-les-Eaux (52-44).
However Challes-les-Eaux allowed points to go at the free-throw line and were unable to make up the 12 points from the first leg during the last three minutes.