Epoupa Leads France Into Semi-Finals

03.08.2012

U18 WOMEN

Turning Point: Lidija Turcinovic was enduring a terrible shooting performance but still had the guts and confidence to keep going. She got her reward when she drilled back-to -back triples either side of a Mamignan Toure basket during the final quarter, which finally broke the stiff Croatian resistance.

Game Hero: Olivia Epoupa was limited in her ability to run the floor, which was credit to Croatia's defensive strategy, but she still had a huge influence with a double-double performance.

Stats Don't Lie: Allowing the smallest player on the floor to grab 13 rebounds isn't likely to help in any game and it contributed to France winning the battle on the glass by 52-43.

7. Olivia Epoupa (France)
France point guard Olivia Epoupa, just 1.68m tall, fought for every loose ball and grabbed 13 rebounds

France booked their place in the Semi-Finals of the U18 European Championship Women as Olivia Epoupa grabbed a vital double-double to help her team wrap up a hard-fought 51-43 success against Croatia.

She may have been the smallest player on the court but that didn't stop the diminutive playmaker from pulling down more boards than any of the frontcourt players from either team.

This was hugely significant in a game dominated by defence as both sides struggled to find any kind of offensive rhythm.

The second quarter, which witnessed a paltry 15 points combined from the teams, perfectly summarised the intensity of the struggle with only a few flashes of quality shining through.

The respective defences did need to take credit and especially the Croatians, who were led by center Ivana Tikvic at the defensive end.

Tikvic came up with four huge blocks to add to her 10 points and nine rebounds while Ana-Marija Begic was sensational for the losing side, playing the entire 40 minutes and contributing 20 points and 10 rebounds.

The third quarter saw France threaten to make a game winning run but in the end, they had to wait until midway through the final quarter when they came alive with a decisive 10-2 run.

France must now wait to see whether they will face Netherlands or Turkey in Saturday's semi-final.


 


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