Les Bleues Breeze By Brits

17.06.2013

EUROBASKET WOMEN 2013

4. Isabelle Yacoubou (France)
Isabelle Yacoubou shone brightest in a team of stars as all 12 players on the French roster registered on the scoresheet

By Joe Hewison

Turning Point: The home crowd is a huge factor for this French team and Emilie Gomis got them on side in the second quarter when she bounced back from a painful-looking fall to produce a brave drive to basket and score on the next play.

Stats Don't Lie: France battered the Brits down low, racking up an incredible 54 points in the paint to their opponents' 12.

Game Hero: It was the turn of Isabelle Yacoubou to be the French star that shone brightest. The center was responsible for nine of France's rebounds that were so key to the margin of victory and also finished with a team-high 11 points.

France Head Coach Pierre Vincent feels his side's previous meetings with Great Britain prepared them perfectly for their 79-47 procession, which takes them into the second round of EuroBasket Women with a perfect record.

The two teams produced one of the games of the tournament at last year's Olympic Games before France came out on top 80-77 in overtime.

But they had no such trouble this time around as they battered Britain down low, dominating in all departments to breeze to victory behind Isabelle Yacoubou's 11 points and nine rebounds.

Vincent targeted the frontcourt as Britain's problem area, noticing that it was weakened by the loss of veteran Julie Page to retirement.

He said: "We know them well because we played them twice last year.

"We found good options to control them and of course we have the team to control them.

"We found a lot of shots in the first half but we didn't balance enough. When there are four or five shots in a row and we don't score then we need to take the ball inside and be more aggressive.

"I think they miss Page in particular. Kim Butler is a good player but it is tough for her to play against our players for a long time because they are so big and so athletic."

Yacoubou was one of five French players to score in double figures as the hosts shared the ball in an effort to make all their players comfortable before the bigger challenges that lie ahead.

The fact that they are able to achieve such scoring balance illustrates the strength in depth that allied with their physical strength makes them such a tough match-up for anyone.

A point put forth by Great Britain guard Johannah Leedham.

Leedham said: "They are so big and the rebounds show that.

"They take one person out and bring another in and they are just a higher caliber of player so it is very tough because we are fatiguing as we go into our bench while they have 12 amazing players."

 

 


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