FIBA U19 World Championship
France to play Spain in semi-final

In the first two quarter-finals of the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women, the teams from FIBA Europe came out on top against their opponents from FIBA Americas.

France were expected to beat Brazil based on the competition ranking. With a combined total of 34 points by Olivia Epoupa and Valériane Ayayi the mission was accomplished (51-39).

This is the first time in the history of French U19 basketball that they have qualified for a semi-final (Final 4) in this competition.

Spain are the European Queens of basketball at all levels. In the last ten minutes against Canada they gave another demonstration in the art of basketball poetry to blow away their opponents (80-62).

France and Spain will face each other in the first semi-final while Canada and Brazil will play each other in the consolation round (classification games) for 5th - 8th place.

The World Championship video clips included are provided by FIBA.

France have waited a long time for this achievement

In our wbbif World Championship quarter-final preview we stated that Olivia Epoupa and Valériane Ayayi needed to be on top of their game for France.

Well during the first ten minutes Epoupa was on fire scoring 12 points to help France edge the first quarter (20-12). The only problem Epoupa had in the Klaipeda arena was hitting her free throws.

With two minutes played in the second quarter France had a double-digit lead (25-12).

Brazil were able to stop the French offensive machine with defensive switches but still lacked the fire power to close the gap.  Hence France went into the locker room leading (31-19).

Brazil clawed their way back into the game in the beginning of the second half in which baskets were hard to come by.

Brazil like France had trouble adjusting to the free-throw line in the new venue and went 6-of-12 from the line in the third quarter. However Brazil had the upper hand in scoring 14-6 and trailed by just 4 points going into the last quarter (33-37).

The match remained hyper defensive. But with Ayayi knocking down big back to back three-pointers, France were home and dry.

Ayayi finished with 18 points while Epoupa had 16 points. Marie-Eve Paget was next with 6 points from two three-pointers. For Brazil Vanessa Goncalves had 11 points.

Spain battled for the first 30 minutes, then stepped on the gas

Macarena Roldan Garcia, MartaMontoliu and Carlos COLINAS

For the first 30 minutes the spectators were treated to youth basketball at its best. Canada ran the floor well and shared the scoring with unselfish play to lead Spain (60-57) going into the final quarter.

However in the last ten minutes Spain turned on their "poetry in motion" button and Canada slowly fell apart.

Canad started to turn the ball over and committed unnecessary fouls. Emma Wolfram (13 points) was the only player from Canada to score in the last ten minutes with 7 points.

Spain put together a 13-0 run to take hold of the game for good (70-60) with just under five minutes to play.

Any chance of Canada saving the game disappeared when Ariadna Pujol knocked down a three-pointer by just beating the 24-second violation buzzer with just over three minutes to play (73-62).

Canada failed to score again and Spain went on to win the quarter 29-7 and the match (80-62).

Spanish captain Irene Gari led the way with 20 points while Leticia Romero compiled a double-double with 15 points and 11 assists.

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Date created: 26 July  2013

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