|05 July 2007|
By Cindy Garcia-Bennett, Novi Sad
Diandra Tchatchouang scored a game-high 17 points to lead France to a 70-49 victory over Slovakia on Thursday, on the crucial day of the qualifying round at the UMCOR European Championship for Women.
Team-mates Sarah Michel and Lorraine Lokoka added 10 points apiece.
France now need Russia to beat Spain later on Thursday to see them progress to the last four.
Francois Gomez's team took command with an 11-3 run before Slovakia stepped up their defense and limited the French to just two points over the next six minutes to pull level (13-13).
Reggina Palusna's jump-shot gave Slovakia a 15-14 advantage early in the second quarter but their joy was shortlived as France struck with an 18-6 surge to go into the break with a 32-21 lead.
Slovakia emerged from the locker rooms for the third quarter refreshed and ready to run.
However, they struggled to hold French duo Michel and Lokoka, who added seven and six points respectively in that quarter, to give France a commanding 53-38 lead going into the last quarter.
France outscored Slovakia 17-11 over the final 10 minutes to secure their triumph.
Slovakia had their worst shooting day of the competition as they were a mere 15 of 65 (23%) from the floor while their opponents were 27 of 56 (48.2%).
"We have done our job," said Tchatchouang."Now we can only hope that the other group results will go our way so that we can progress to the semi-finals."