Open LFB 2009: Challes-les-Eaux' sweet victory over Montpellier
The most exciting Open LFB match of Basket and the City 5 was the match Challes-les-Eaux versus Montpellier. It not only displayed the qualities of the players from these two teams but also kept the spectators on their feet throughout.
After-match comments from Magali Lacroix, Martina Luptakova-Gyurcsi and their Italian coach are added after the report.
Magali Lacroix opened the scoring for Challes-les-Eaux during a hectic opening from both sides. Sandra Dijon-Gérardin hit a baseline jumper for Montpellier with her first shot of the game.
Both sides continued to attack at speed with Challes-les-Eaux and in particular Lacroix and Kirby Copeland having the better luck to lead (10-4) with just over four minutes played.
Constance Jinks opened her account with a trey which was quickly followed by 3 points by Copeland (2+1).
The pace dropped and the game became tactical with both teams holding tight defensively.
Neither scored for almost two minutes before Elina Babkina intercepted a pass by Dana Boonen and went on to score for Challes.
Challes moved 10 points clear (17-7). But then they allowed Montpellier right back into the game.
Challes' advantage was reduced by the end of the first quarter after Pauline Krawczyk hit a big three for Montpellier (19-15).
Montpellier found their rhythm. With Sylvie Gruszczynski finding her way to the basket on several occasions they reduced their deficit to 2 points (23-25).
Laina Badiane opened her account for Challes while Copeland fired in 2 more points to give their side some breathing space (29-23).
Jinks used her pace well causing problems for Challes and was rewarded with a total of 4 points.
Montpellier were then in the driving seat and went in front for the first time with a couple of free-throws from Alexia Plagnard with 1:27 to play in the second period.
Boonen completed the Montpellier 9-0 run for the team to go into the locker room leading (32-29).
Boonen scored the first points of the third quarter to complete the 11-point sequence for Montpellier. Lacroix with her trademark spin in the paint ended Challes' barren spell.
Jinks' response was to fire in a trey from beyond the arc as Montpellier started another run with Krawczyk hitting a second trey moments later (40-31).
The pendulum changed direction once again as Stéphanie Dubois became the catalyst that Challes required. Challes outscored their opponents (9-2) in 90 seconds to trail by just 2 points (40-42).
It was again the turn of Montpellier and Gruszczynski to take control of the game with a 7-0 run despite Jinks having to leave the court for treatment.
K. B. Sharp put an end to the Montpellier run with a three-pointer from the top of the arc. Sharp then added 2 more points after drawing Khadijah Whittington into fouling her with a drive to the basket.
However the pendulum once again swung in the other direction. With Boonen and Plagnard scoring Montpellier led (53-48) going into the last minute of the third quarter.
Jinks had also returned to the game and Boonen had to leave the game for a while with 4 fouls.
Dijon-Gérardin used her strength under the basket to score the last points of the quarter for Montpellier to lead (55-48) going into the final quarter.
A hectic start showed Challes firing with all cylinders with Badiane and Martina Gyurcsi-Luptakova finding the mark as they reduced the deficit to 3 points (54-57).
Challes became even more aggressive defensively, forcing Montpellier into making mistakes.
Badiane scored again before Sharp hit a trey for Challes to regain the advantage (59-58) with 5.21 left to play.
The lead did not last long as Krawczyk fired in a three-pointer. Her celebration did not last long because Sharp went on her trademark drive to the basket and scored. However she missed the free-throw.
Montpellier went back in front thanks to Dijon-Gérardin. Yet the teams were back on level terms (63-63) with four minutes to play.
Krawczyk was left wide open at the NBA three-point line and she fired in the shot for Montpellier to go back into the lead.
Montpellier led (68-67) as the game went into money-time.
Yet the lead changed hands at every score during this short stretch with Challes leading (71-70) with 34 seconds left to play.
After a time-out with 2.8 seconds to play Challes converted the 2 free-throws and won (73-70).
Open LFB Basket and the City 5 after-match commentsMagali Lacroix has been involved in some exciting finishes at the Open LFB. Unfortunately this time she had to watch the closing seconds from the bench after fouling out as the game reached its climax.
She explained that they started well by playing collectively and had control of the game. However as soon as they started to play one on one, Montpellier profited and came back into the game and her side was in difficulties. But once they stopped playing individually and reverted back to collective offense and defense, everything fell into place and they regained the lead and went on to win.
On a personal note, the first official victory for her new club, there could be nothing better.
Aldo Corno was lost for words to explain what happened in the middle phase of the game but was overjoyed with what his team did in the last five minutes as they played the way in the style he loved and for that he was happy.
Martina Luptakova-Gyurcsi explained during the after-match Open LFB press conference that she was so happy for her team-mates and that they won the match. She said that they had been beaten badly against Montpellier two weeks earlier.
She hopes the celebration at the end of the match continues as they did not play well during their pre-season, so she would keep her fingers crossed for more wins.