2009 LFB Championship play-off winners are Bourges Basket
The 2009 LFB Championship play-off series did not live up to expectations as Bourges Basket cruised past Tarbes Gespe Bigorre (72-52) to become champions of France for the ninth time.
Céline Dumerc led the scoring with 19 points. She scored 16 points during the first 20 minutes of the game. Cathy Melain dished out 7 assists, had 8 rebounds and scored 4 points in her last game at the Prado.
Tarbes were unable to get their shooting game going in the first half of the match and then gave themselves too much to do in the second half.
Both teams meet again on Sunday, 17 May 2009 for the final of the "Coupe de France".
Bourges Basket win the LFB Championship play-off
A cautious start by both sides at the start of the game resulted in little scoring during the first five minutes.
Dumerc from Bourges was able to connect from the filed and scored the first 5 points of the game.
Nwal-Endéne Miyem made it (7-0) for Bourges Basket with a couple of free-throws after four minutes of play.
Then Tanisha Wright opened the Tarbes account from the charity stripes. She was to score again as the game opened up briefly with a flourish of baskets from both sides with Bourges Basket maintaining the advantage (11-6).
Both sides went defensive and the scoring stopped for more than two minutes before Emméline Ndongue increased the lead of Bourges with a couple of free-throws.
Polina Tzekova managed to score for Tarbes but Dumerc had the last say as she fired in a shot from beyond the arc for Bourges to open a 10-point lead by the end of the first period (18-8).
Bourges continued to play open offensive basketball and outscored Tarbes (14-2) to open a 22-point lead with 14 minutes played (32-10).
Wright came up with a perfect pass for Liz Moeggenberg to hit a trey to bring an end to the Bourges' onslaught. However the relief was short lived as Bourges changed their offensive tactics and used the power and strength of their inside game to Alessandra Santos De Oliveira in the paint to maintain their advantage (36-17).
Tarbes were having a miserable shooting day with just 8-from-25 in the first half. Hence they were unable to bring down the deficit as Bourges went into the interval with an increased lead (43-19).
Dumerc was leading the scoring with 16 points that included 4-of-5 from beyond the arc.
Bourges ended the game as a contest with their lead stretching to 30 points (57-27) with 27 minutes played. This dropped to 25 points as the game entered the final quarter.
Isis Arrondo from Tarbes gave Bourges something to worry about as she scored 10 points and at the same time reduced her team's deficit to 17 points with just under five5 minutes to play (45-68).
After a few hard words from Pierre Vincent, the coach of Bourges Basket, his players regained their focus and went on to win (72-52) with the very last points of the game coming from Elsa Martins.
LFB Championship Play-off after the match comments
Cathy Melain is retiring from basketball at the end of this season and Céline Dumerc is leaving the club after six years. So most of the attention after the game was on these two players.
Cathy Melain (left) given a standing ovation when she left the court for the last time 30 seconds from the end of the game.
Melain had this to say to the supporters of Bourges Basket:"Il faut savoir s'arrêter sur quelque chose. Je préfère partir avant de ne plus supporter de jouer au basket. Je vous remercie tous d'avoir été là pour moi et le club. Je souhaite que ce club continue à vivre et gagner."
This basically means: You have to know when to stop. Melain said she preferred to leave before no longer enjoying playing basketball. She was also thanking the fans who have always supported her as well as the club. She hopes that the club continues to survive and keep on winning.
Pierre Vincent was happy with the way the team played in this final match and their performance during the first half.
The players and staff have worked hard for moments like this. He raises his hat to his staff for the work done in preparing the team for the match.
He also explained that this victory is very emotional because it is also the end of an era with Céline and Cathy. For him the next stop is Paris Bercy for the final of the French Cup and he hopes that this will also end in a victory.
Pierre Fosset, the president of Bourges Basket, was delighted that the final match ended the way it did as it was a perfect farewell present for Cathy and Céline. He added that you could not have dreamed such an ending.