Illkirch-Graffenstaden ready for
Ligue Féminine 2
Mali still working towards AfroBasket

With five days to go before the start of 2011-2012 Ligue Féminine 2, the Illkirch-Graffenstaden (SIG) players gave themselves a big boost after beating Mali (61-55).

Mali still have two weeks before AfroBasket Women 2011 takes off and continue their preparation in Mondeville before leaving for the African championship.

Résumé du match en français en bas du page

For the SIG this match marked the end of almost five weeks of preparation for the Ligue Féminine 2 season.

Without Amina Njonkou - who is on international duty with Cameroon - and Céline Schmitt-Sendner, the SIG had to play their final match without any specialised pivots.

Njonkou should miss the first three games of the season due to her participating at AfroBasket.

Bettina Kadila  © Schmitt-Sendner who was present for the match is nursing a back injury so her court time is likely to be reduced while working her way back to full fitness.

In the meanwhile Bettina Kadila (in picture) had fun bashing her way through playing the centre position.

Lina Brazdeïkyte - although not a centre - had enough experience to defend inside when required playing against Mali.

The SIG are known as a shooting side. When it goes well like during the first quarter against Mali, then they are not only a threat but nice to watch.

Jacques Vernerey   © For Mali, this was the last preparation match in Europe and Jacques Vernerey (left), once again in charge, wanted them to finish with a victory.

Although Mali have some very experienced players like Djéné Diawara, Hamchétou Maïga-Ba and Djéneba Sissoko, the rest of the squad is young or play in lower professional leagues, which is why it is taking time for them to become more consistent.

Despite winning AfroBasket in 2007 and participating in the Olympics of 2008 and the World Championships of 2010 it is still a difficult task in building a solid team due to the young age of the players.

At each time-out, Vernerey was forced to explain to the players what he wanted to see and what was expected of them.

With Naignouma Coulibaly and Astan Dabo still learning their trade, Mali allowed the SIG to sneak past them in the last few minutes.

The defeat for Mali is not important as they still have two weeks to correct their mistakes.

Illkirch-Graffenstaden  vs. Mali  ©

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Match report

After a nervous opening from both sides Djéneba Sissoko from Mali opened the scoring from the free-throw line with just over a minute played.

The SIG was dealt an early blow with Célia Mauler picking up 2 fouls with less than three minutes played.

In fact Sissoko was unstoppable scoring nearly all her team's points as both sides traded basket for basket (11-11) midway through the first quarter.

For the SIG Éloïse Chapays was the driving force and most dangerous player offensively although she failed to convert any of her AND1 opportunities.

Jacques Vernerey with players from Mali at time-out  © Despite that the SIG had no answer for Sissoko, Vernerey had no choice but to take her off to give other players a chance to play (17-17) during the last three minutes of the opening quarter.

The SIG were unable to get inside once Naignouma Coulibaly and Astan Dabo were on the court. But with excellent perimeter shooting they were able to edge the first quarter (25-24).

Mali stepped up defensively at the start of the second quarter. They did not allow the SIG to get inside the paint or get any open shots from the perimeter.

Mali also scored 11 unanswered points to open up a double-digit lead with 16 minutes played (35-25).

However a SIG time-out changed things and brought an end to Mali's dominance. The SIG finally got off the mark with a pair of free throws by Chloé Westelynck with 3:22.

Mali were suddenly out of sync and started to turn the ball over. The SIG managed to reduce their deficit going into the half-time break (31-37).

After the interval the SIG were more organised alternating long distance shooting with drives to the basket.

Mali were not having any joy with their long distance shooting and with guards Aissata Boubacar Maiga and Fatoumata Bagayoko both on the bench with foul problems Mali started to struggle.

Mali vs. SIG - players under the basket  © The SIG players started to attack the basket more and were able to get the lead back after back to back trips to the free-throw line by Bettina Kadila and Westelynck (48-44).

However once again Hamchétou Maïga-Ba showed her class to make a score out of nothing for the last points of the quarter (46-48).

Mali were able to stay in the game with the calmness of Maïga-Ba and Sissoko and the youthful exuberance of Coulibaly and Dabo.

The game started to get untidy with players rushing shots. With so many players from Mali in foul problems the SIG were able to hold out defensively.

The SIG also took advantage of the foul problems of their opponents to drive to the basket for scoring opportunities.

With just under two minutes to play Lucie Battaglia somehow managed to get herself into the paint, past the whole defense to finger role the ball into the basket (58-54).

The rest of the game was played out on the free-throw line with the hosts hanging on to win.

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Résumé du match amical entre la SIG et l'équipe de Mali

Mali senior women against the SIG       ©

La SIG termina leur préparation pour la saison 2011-1012 en Ligue Féminine 2 en remportant la rencontre contre l'équipe du Mali (61-55).

Les Maliennes utilisaient ce match également pour terminer leurs entraînements en Europe avant d'aller à Mondeville pour retourner en Afrique pour l'AfroBasket.

Djéneba Sissoko de Mali prenait les choses en main en marquant presque tous les points de son équipe dans le sept premières minutes du premier quart-temps.

SIG starting five to face Mali © Pourtant la SIG ne se laissa pas intimider en répliquant avec une Éloïse Chapays qui contribua 8 points dans le premier quart pour son équipe prendre l'avantage (25-24) à la dixième minute.

La défense de Mali empêcha la SIG de marquer dans les sept premières minutes du deuxième quart pendant qu'elles creusaient l'écart (35-25). Mais la hargne des Illkirchoises faisait mouche et elles provoquaient nombreuses pour rattraper leur retard de la ligne des lancers francs pour un 6-2.

De retour des vestiaires, le match changea et c'était à Lina Brazdeïkyte de montrer son expérience dans le milieu international avec des shoots extérieurs et de la défense agressive pour la SIG de gagner du terrain.

Astan Dabo and Naignouma Coulibaly © Le coach de Mali, Jacques Vernerey, était obligé de faire tourner son banc à cause des fautes. De plus, les Maliennes n'arrivaient plus à marquer ni de leurs shoots extérieurs ni de la ligne des lancers franc.

Donc la SIG en profita pour prendre l'avantage avec des lancers franc des Kadila et Westelynck avant entamer le dernier quart (48-46).

Les premières huit minutes étaient rapides et intenses avec beaucoup de fautes des deux équipes.

Avec Coulibaly et Dabo de Mali étant sanctionnées le plus, leur équipe ne retrouva plus leur élan de la première mi-temps pourque Battaglia, avec des attaques rusées, contra les Maliennes pour assurer la victoire à son équipe.

SIG : Battaglia 4, Mauler, Westelynck 11, Fischbach 5, Chapays 13, Brazdeikyte 11, Kadila 11, Nestor 3, Pfister 3

Mali: N. Traoré 9, Ad. Maïga 3, H. Maïga 4, Touré 2, Diawara 4, Coulibaly 4, Tirera 6, Dabo 8, Sissoko 15

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Ligue Féminine 2 picture credits:

Date created: 14 September 2011

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