This year’s Open LFB started the 10th year of the French women’s basketball league (Ligue Féminine de BasketBall) and you would have expected a full hall. Unfortunately with the offer to follow all the matches on the internet only about 3000 fans were at the "stade de Pierre Coubertin" to watch the 3rd Basket in the City in Paris.
Still it was nice to meet some of the national players from Belgium, France, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Serbia, Republic Czech, playing for the French clubs present and so we were happy to settle down to keep a close eye on their first match of the season in France:
The first match with Aix-en-Provence against Mourenx only became lively in the fourth quarter which ended in a tied game after Mourenx came back from the dead with some excellent 3-point shooting. Despite the 21 points from Nathalie Lesdema Mourenx won the game in overtime (74-72).
There were only 30 minutes warm-up time for the second match between Arras and Montpellier to get the schedule back on track. The game ended as a contest by the end of the first half with Montpellier in total control and they went on to win comfortably (86-58).
Short afterwards St. Amand met Tarbes and during the first period the game was a close show, but then Tarbes’ experience in the latter part of the match enabled them to win with a flattering margin (66-53).
The last game of the first day of Basket in the City 3 lived up to its expectation with the NF1 winner Reims against the current LFB champions Valenciennes (USVO). The match was a good promotion for women’s basketball as neither side gave up in the fight for the victory.
USVO thought - after 28 minutes leading by 20 points - that the game was won but an 11-0 run at the end of the 3rd quarter by Reims changed everything. In the final period Reims matched USVO in all sectors of the game and came to within 2 points (58-56) with just over five minutes remaining. The strength of the USVO bench then became evident as Francisca Zara rescued USVO with her on-court leadership and trademark moves which allowed them to hold on to the win (67-64).