France salvaged their EuroBasket Women experience with an 85-62 demolition of Latvia on Sunday to finish fifth in the tournament and qualify for the FIBA World Championship for Women 2006.
Alain Jardel's team proved they were among the better sides in Ankara, and possibly the unluckiest of all after finishing second in Group A to the Czech Republic and then being drawn against Russia in the quarter-finals.
Russia, the defending champions, had been upset by Lithuania and Spain, but against France in the quarter-final, they finally discovered their rhythm.
|Anete Jekabsone's 23 points were not enough for Latvia to avoid defeat|
France beat Latvia and clinched their passage to Brazil with ease. They trailed 10-4 early in the game and then went on a 21-1 run over the next five-and-a-half minutes to lead 25-11 with 2:04 left in the opening quarter.
By half-time, the French had stretched their advantage to 47-27 and Jardel's team cruised home.
All but one of the French players saw action and scored, with Celine Dumerc pouring in a team-high 16.
Latvia's Anete Jekabsone, who confirmed her superstar status in this EuroBasket Women, led all scorers with 23 points.
The 1.76 Jekabsone, who plays for French giants Bourges, averaged 19.6 points per game, 5.3 rebounds and four assists.
In the battle for seventh place, Poland needed overtime but defeated Turkey 82-71.
Serbia & Montenegro defeated Greece 79-65 in the fight for ninth place, and Germany avoided the wooden spoon by hammering Romania 98-64.