France Finishes Third with a 63-56 Win Over Czech Republic

France failed to defend their title but the defending championship managed to have a podium finishes after bagging third place with a 63-56 win over Czech Republic on Sunday in Lodz, Poland.

Sandrine Gruda was nearly unstoppable as she racked up 26 points on 12-for-14 shooting from the field, a performance highlighted by a clutch basket the sparked a 9-0 run in the final period.

With the game closely contested for the entire four periods, Gruda sparked a 9-0 blast to give her team a commanding nine-point lead, 56-47, with 2:41 left in the game. They never looked back to take the bronze-medal clinching win in this year’s European championship.

“I am very happy and especially because of how we lost against the Turkish National team in the semifinal which was sad for us,” said France coach Pierre Vincent. “But I never doubted my team -either mentally or their physical abilities. Sometimes we don't have the shooters but we can't stop shooting the ball and we have to take our opportunities which we did.”

Katerina Elhotova had 17 points, while Petra Kulichova and Eva Viteckova added 14 and 13 points, respectively, with both of them adding six rebounds for Czech Republic, who will be playing in next year’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

France, on the other hand, will be hosting the next EuroBasket Women in 2013.

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