France to Meet USA in Their First-Ever Olympic Finals Stint

France continues to surprise the skeptics as they extended their Cinderella run with an 81-64 win over Russia to arrange a gold-medal duel with USA in the women’s basketball competition of the 2012 London Olympics.

Edwidge Lawson-Wade had another impressive offensive night as she finished with 18 points and five assists, while Emilie Gomis added 15 points for France, who were in full control for almost the entire match.

Celine Dumerc, who is arguably the most surprising player in the 2012 London Games, was in her usual deadly form, finishing with 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting, not to mention the energy she provided on both ends of the floor.

“She has the fire of the Olympics in her every game,” said Lawson-Wade when asked about Dumerc’s performance. “We are all carried along by the Olympic force.”

With the win, France, who are playing just in their second women’s Olympic basketball, will go for the gold, but it won’t be easy because they will be facing mighty USA, who has not been defeated in their last 40 Olympic games.

But despite going into the match as a heavy-underdog, France coach Pierre Vincent remains upbeat and is determined to pull off an upset of gigantic proportion against Team USA women.

“Nobody talks about us. We don't exist in the Olympic Village,” Vincent said. “The only way to exist is to win. I told the girls in the locker room, if we win, we will exist.”

Sue Bird, on the other hand, knows that France is dangerous so they don’t have any opportunity to relax, but she confidently said that they are not feeling any pressure going into the Saturday’s gold-medal match.

“We've been taking it one game at a time all along, so this is just the next one,” Bird said. “Obviously there is a lot more at stake, but we really aren't thinking that way.”

USA, who will not face Australia in the gold-medal match for the first time since the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, are looking to win their fifth-straight Olympic gold medal.

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