In 2008 when the last Olympic Qualifying Tournament was played in Madrid, France was absent due to an 8th place finish at EuroBasket Women 2007.
Instead with the new coach Pierre Vincent, France were involved in the EuroBasket Women 2009 qualification series.
This was the start of a long journey with one objective: qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
In Vincent's time as head coach, France have won 65 matches against 14 defeats (16 June 2012). During this period France have picked up gold and bronze medals at EuroBasket Women 2009, 2011 and a sixth place finish at the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Women.
For the Olympic Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Tournoi de Qualification Olympique) the following 12 players have been selected:
France win 4-nation Olympic Qualifying Tournament preparation
France completed the second phase of their preparation by defeating Croatia, Czech Republic and Canada in a 4-nation tournament organised by various clubs from the Lyon Region.
On the first day France beat the Czech Republic (76-57) despite starting the match slowly (0-7). However 8 points by Isabelle Yacoubou-Dehoui helped France edge the first quarter (18-14) and take control of the game.
Yacoubou-Dehoui went 7-of-8 from the floor to top score with 18 points for France while Sandrine Gruda (in picture) and Emméline Ndongue added 12 points each. Former Bourges Basket player Ilona Burgrova led the Czech Republic with 13 points.
In the other match from day 1, played in Villeurbanne, Canada beat Croatia (66-49) with 11 points coming from Alisha Tatham and 10 more from Tamara Tatham.
For Croatia Ana Lelas top scored with 14 points.
On the second day the matches were played in the smaller arena in Bellegarde and France had a hard time in holding off Croatia (73-69). Sandrine Gruda and Céline Dumerc were the only French players in double digits with 13 and 11 points each.
In the other game Canada trailed for most of the match but ended taking the game in an exciting finish (66-64). Kim Smith from Canada led all scoring with 19 points.
For the final day the games were played in the Vacheresse Arena with 5000 in attendance where France thumped Canada (66-41).
France were quick out of the starting blocks (7-0) and dominated the first quarter (23-5) to end the match as a contest by half time (43-18).
Gruda was the best player in this game with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Emilie Gomis and Ndongue chipped in 12 points. The only player not to score from France was Jennifer Digbeu.
The Czech Republic won the match for third place (77-69) against Croatia.
France have one more friendly game against Puerto Rico before leaving for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
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Olympic Qualifying Tournament picture credit:
Olivier Blatrie - basketfly.fr
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29 June 2012 Czech Republic and Croatia are going to London 2012
29 June 2012 French players looking up to the sky before quarter-final
27 June 2012 The Olympic dream ends for Mali and Puerto Rico
26 June 2012 Mozambique and New Zealand eliminated on day 2
25 June 2012 No upsets on day 1
29 October 2011 France withdraws from bid to host OQT
12 October 2011 The road to London 2012 - Qualification jigsaw puzzle