2009 LFB Championship Play-off finalists are Bourges Basket and Tarbes Gespe Bigorre
Tarbes are back in the LFB Championship play-off final after a six-year absence.
Their last appearance was in 2003 when they lost to USVO. Tarbes beat Villeneuve d’Ascq (74-56) to sweep the series 2-0.
2003 is the only year that Bourges Baskeet failed to qualify for the finals of the Ligue Féminine de BasketBall.
And they are back for the sixth consecutive year after beating last season’s finalist Lattes Montpellier (66-57) to clinch their series (2-0).
The second leg matches were supposed to be the big return of LFB TV as both matches were scheduled to be shown at the same time.
Unfortunately due to some technical problems the game at Tarbes was not broadcasted.
The match at Bourges did go live and Didier Servant was the main commentator. He was assisted by the manager of the French Women national team Ivano Ballarini.
It is expected that both games will become available within 24 hours and you will be able to watch them from our 2008-2009 LFB-TV section.
Bourges are back again in the final
Cathy Melain who is in her last season as a professional basketball player, turned the clock back and came up with several of the moves that have defined her career: her pivot-turnaround fade jump shot, and low post turnaround jump shot were just two moves she used.
She also gave a example of how to break up a zone with drives right inside the paint before feeding out for players to hit open shots.
She may have scored only 9 points, but she dished out 6 assists, drew 5 fouls, made 2 steals and came up with 1 block in her player of the match performance.
Bourges Basket scored the first 11 points of the game and led (20-12) by the end of the first period.
They would have had a bigger advantage but they allowed Sheana Mosch too much space as she hit two three-pointers for Montpellier .
Bourges did not start the second period with the same intensity as they finished the first quarter. Hence Montpellier brought the score down (19-22) after 13 minutes.
Pierre Vincent then called for a time-out and gave his players a good telling off. The team then returned to the court and stepped on the accelerator to score 8 unanswered points (30-19).
Thereafter it was the turn of Valéry Demory (left) from Montpellier to call for a time-out which put an end to the Bourges run.
The two sides traded baskets for the rest of the period with Bourges going into the locker room leading (36-29).
The match officials did not blow their whistles much during the first period which annoyed both coaches. Bourges picked up a total of 4 team fouls during the first 20 minutes while Montpellier picked up 8 of which 6 came in the first quarter.
The third period was rather slow, which favoured Montpellier as they trailed by only 5 points going into the final period (41-46).
The only highlight in the quarter was whenAlexia Plagnardwas given a little lesson by Céline Dumerc in the art of stealing as she overexposed the ball. Dumerc tapped it away and went to score.
The final period was more exciting as Gaëlle Skrela from Montpellier was everywhere trying to get her team back into the game.
So Montpellier switched from player to player marking to zone defense. They went full court press. However all was in vain as Melain and Dumerc kept Bourges in charge (61-47).
Montpellier had too much to do in the last three minutes and despite all their good will they could not make up the score and ended up losing the match and the series.
Mosch finished top scorer with 22 points and Skrela scored 19 points. Montpellier only turned the ball over 15 times compared to the 21 of Bourges.
Dumerc (right) led the scoring for Bourges with 13 points and Emméline Ndonguee finished with 11 points.
Tarbes qualifying for LFB Championship play-off final
Tarbes beat Villeneuve d’Ascq (74-56) with a balanced scoring offensive effort. Isabelle Yacoubou-Dehoui led the scoring with 13 points. Liz Moeggenberg, Polina Tzekoba and Tanisha Wright all scored 12 points while Frida Eldebrink finished with 11 points.
Wright also dished out 7 assists.
Villeneuve d’Ascq were never allowed to get into this match and trailed (14-19) by the end of the first period and fell further behind by the interval (26-38).
Géraldine Robert battled at both ends of the court for rebounds and finished the game with 11. She also scored 13 points but her team had a bad shooting day.
They only managed 30% from the field (21-of-71) which led to their downfall as they were unable to make up the deficit and despite having the better of the third period.
Tarbes' impressive shooting enabled them in the final period to extend their advantage and win the game comfortably.
Tarbes' qualification for the final has assured them a place in the 2010 EuroLeague Women competition.