By David Hein
Belgium finally got back on the winning track on Sunday in beating France 72-63 to capture seventh place at the 2007 EuroBasket Women.
Ann Wauters had 25 points and eight rebounds while Anke De Mondt scored 13 of her 16 points in the fourth quarter as Belgium snapped a four-game losing streak after winning their first four games of the tournament.
“This win was important for the team. We worked hard and we wanted it. We showed we
were a real team. We could have done better,” said Wauters.
|Gruda will be honoured before the gold medal game as FIBA Europe Young Women's Player of the Year.|
“It's too bad it's only for the seventh place. We wished we could have been competing for fifth, but it's too late now. We finished in a positive way and now the tournament is over.”
Sandrine Gruda, who later Sunday will be honoured as the 2006 FIBA Europe Young Women's Player of the Year, was France's only weapon, scoring 21 of her 23 points in the final 15 minutes and grabbing eight rebounds.
“It was a psychological blow for us to lose our previous game (against Lithuania) and it was very difficult for us to be motivated for this game against Belgium,” said the 20-year-old Gruda.
France led after the first quarter 19-18 despite nine points from Wauters.
The game was even 24-24 when Belgium went on an 8-0 run before opening a 32-28 lead the break.
The Belgians continued their hot spurt with the first nine points of the second half to push the gap to 41-28 with 5:37 left in the third.
But France snapped out of their funk and went on a 19-6 spurt with Gruda scoring the final eight points, including the jumper just before the buzzer to knot the game at 47-47 after three periods.
Celine Dumerc's basket gave France the lead 49-47 to complete the 21-6 surge, but that's when De Mondt stepped up, hitting eight straight points including two three-pointers for a 55-51 cushion.
France closed to within 60-57 before De Mondt and Kathy Wambe drained back-to-back bombs to re-establish a 66-57 advantage. Gruda was the only Frenchwoman who seemed to offer Belgium any resistance, scoring 21 of France's final 24 points.
Wambe finished with 14 points for Belgium.