France Hold Off Dutch To Reach Final


Turning Point: France changed the course of the game at the start of the last period with a stunning run as they finally figured out how to break down the Dutch defence and get the ball to their post players.

Game Hero: Valeriane Ayayi finished with a fine double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Stats Don't Lie: France scored 28 points during the last period, having scored 32 points during the first three quarters combined. Meanwhile Olivia Epoupa didn't have her best game for France shooting-wise, but she still had six assists - the same as the entire Netherlands team.

11. Valeriane Ayayi (France)
France forward Valeriane Ayayi did not shy away from any battle in the paint and ended up with 12 important rebounds

A devastating final quarter performance by France helped them fight back to claim a 60-47 success against the Netherlands and secure back-to-back appearances in the U18 European Championship Women Final.

However, it was far from straightforward for the winning team - even if after a 17-6 opening period it looked like it might not be too complicated.

But, the French had to survive a monumental third quarter drought when they went scoreless for seven minutes, and the Netherlands threatened to put themselves out of sight.

It must have seemed like an eternity for France head coach Jerome Fournier when his team continued to put up perimeter shots instead of looking to dominate inside with their big guns in the paint.

At one point in the game, France missed 15 consecutive three-point shots until, eventually, they realised that wasn't the route to success.

The Netherlands had looked to be in the driving seat in a big way at the end of the third quarter when Kalziena Guijt hit a three on buzzer.

But, whether it was a case of lacking self-belief or France just being too good in the end, once the comeback gained momentum with the French claiming the first ten points of the period to take the lead back, there only ever looked like being one winner.

France plays Russia for the gold medal, a team that has already beaten them in Bucharest while the Netherlands will contest the third place game with Serbia.




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