Allez Les Bleues – France Are Europe Champions

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RUSSIA 53 – FRANCE 57

Defense dominated the first quarter, Russia placed zone defense- which was all about trading baskets. France used mainly its post play. Emmeline Ndongue put her team ahead making it 6-4 with 4:30 remaining and the French kept in front until the end of the first. Svetlana Ambrosimova tried to lead Russia but she wan’t able to make her shots being Ilona Korstin who lead the scoring for Russia with 6 points and avoid Pierre Vincent’s team to pull away, entering in the second trailing 12-10.

France stopped Russia in the second. After an early trade, after Maria Stepanova closed the gap to one point for Russia making it 18-17 with five minutes remaining, Les Bleues then scored a 9-0 run in the next four minutes, started by Emmeline Ndongue who scored 4 pts in the spurt and capped by Sandrine Gruda, who made 5, to put ahead 27-17 with 1:30 for the break. Becky Hammon cut the run with one minute remaining making it 27-19, but Emmanuelle Hermouet answered in the other end with a three pointer to make it 30-19 at the break for France.

After the break France put the game under control and slowly increased its lead. Svetalana Ambrosimova made it 36-26 with five minutes remaining but then France delivered a blow of a 9-0 run started by a trey from Celine Dumerc with 4:15 remaining and capped by another from Pauline Krawczyk, with a three point play from Elodie Godin in between to reach their biggest lead so far, 45-26, with three minutes remaining. Maria Karpurina scored 5 straight points –a lay up and a three pointer- to trim the lead, 45-31, with two minutes remaining, entering the fourth 46-33 after two freebies from Maria Stepanova.

In the last France continued its dominance and lead 53-41 after five minutes but then they began struggling in the offense. Russia was able then to scratch France’s lead closing the gap to four points 55-51 with 1:40 remaining. Then was when the real inferno for France who saw how they couldn’t score, not even taking advantage of Russia’s foul bonus to close the game from the line, from where they just scored 2-of-8 in that last 1:40 final (57-51 with 50 seconds remaining) struggling then on the defensive end to stop the Russian’s attempts to comeback since they saw the victory running away because they weren’t bale to score. Svetlana Ambrosimova scored with 30 seconds to finish the game but her team wouldn’t score its three last attempts from the perimeter and France would claim Europe’ crown, 57-53.

For France Sandrine Gruda had 12 pts and 6 boards and Emmeline Ndongue had 11 points. All players in France team played in the final game

For Russia Maria Stepanova had 13 pts and Olga Arteshina 12 and 7 boards, with Svetlana Ambrosimova adding 11 boards, 4 pts and 4 assists.

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