Les Bleues To Meet Spain In Final, Thrash Czech Republic

11.07.2009

France delivered the telling blows in the first half and crushed the Czech Republic 74-52 to reach the final of the U18 European Chammpionship Women in Södertälje.

Les Bleuets trailed 11-7 five minutes into the contest but then scored the next 14 points of the game to go in front 21-11.

France's lead ballooned to 40-23 by half-time and they cruised to victory.

Jerome Fournier's side will meet Spain in Sunday's final in a battle of unbeatens.

France's Allison Vernerey scored 14 points and pulled down 11 rebounds.

Isabelle Strunc and Eleonore Grossemy also had 14 points apiece.

"We are delighted to be in the final," said Vernerey. "We had strong starts in every game of this tournament and tonight's game was no exception.

"I think we played great defense in the first half and that allowed us to control the game."

8. Linda Bousbaa (France)
Linda Bousbaa dishing out one of her 3 asts

The Czechs struggled against France's suffocating defense and were in a 38-18 hole with three minutes to go in the second frame.

Romana Ptackova's side went on a 5-2 run to reduce the gap 40-23 heading into the third quarter.

The Czechs cut the deficit to 57-41 late in the third quarter but were outscored for the remainder of the game.

France out-rebounded the Czech Republic 49-27.

France hit 27 of 49 (55.1%) from inside the arc while the Czechs were 20 of 46 (43.5%).

Adela Filarova scored the Czechs' only three-ball from 13 attempts while France finished three of 17 (17.9%).

Andrea Sladkova led the Czechs with 12 points.

The Czechs will take on tournament hosts Sweden on Sunday with the bronze medal up for grabs while France will focus on slowing down Spain.

"Spain is a very good team," said Fournier. "They are better at fast breaks than us.

"Tomorrow we are going to defend their fast-break and control the ball because Spain love to play with the ball."


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