Bourges Basket take the lead in the LFB Championship final
Lattes Montpellier may have the best attack in the LFB this season but they were powerless at home against the best defensive team in France, Bourges Basket.
Bourges Basket kept Montpellier away from the perimeter while dominating the offensive rebounds to win the first game (59-47) with Emméline Ndongue winning the player-of-the-match award with 16 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists.
The remaining matches in the best-of-three series LFB final will be played on the court of Bourges Basket.
Sandra Dijon-Gérardin was in no mood to let Bourges have an easy run and showed her intention with back to backs scores in the opening minutes.
The two teams were clued together (6-6) for the first four minutes before Bourges made what turned out to be the decisive break of the game.
Nwal Endéné-Miyem put Bourges in the lead for good with 2 points, quickly followed by a three-pointer from Cathy Joens (11-6).
So after 6 1/2 minutes Bourges were on their way.
Valéry Demory reacted quickly bringing in Stephany Skrba for Dijon-Géradin. Initially his tactics worked as his team reduced the deficit to a single point (12-13) with two minutes to play in the quarter.
However Bourges defended the perimeter well not allowing Montpellier any chance of taking long distance shots while finishing the quarter with a 4-0 run to win the first quarter (17-12).
Bourges continued their offensive attack with the first 4 points of the second quarter to complete a 8-0 run for a 9-point advantage with only 11 minutes played.
Montpellier had no choice but to find scoring solutions from inside the arc. Ana Lelas and Gaëlle Skrela responded with 2 points each with mid-distance jumpers to start the chase.
But it was Bourges that was sparked back into action, and with their efficient high-low plays inside the paint the advantage reached double digits (30-20) with 17 minutes played.
Montpellier were made to work hard for their points. They also made things more difficult for themselves with poor free throwing in the first half (3-of-8). This generosity allowed Bourges to go into the locker room with a 7-point lead (32-25).
After the break Bourges were at their ruthless best with Emméline Ndongue (in picture) causing mayhem at both ends of the court during an 11-2 run for their largest lead of the game (34-27).
Montpellier failed to get to the charity stripes all through the second half of the game and were 0-of-6 from behind the arc. So they had to concentrate of working under the basket.
Trailing (33-47) going into the final quarter it was once again Dijon-Géradin with back to back scores that gave the home fans a little hope as the deficit was down to 7 points (43-50) with five minutes to play.
But once again a trey by Joens and 2 points from Nwal-Endéné Miyem put Bourges back on track and finished Montpellier for good.
At the end of the game Dijon-Gérardin announced that she was her last home game for the club.