Plenty To Play For

06.10.2007

By Yarone Arbel

The last time France and Lithuania met at a EuroBasket Women it was the semi-finals of 2001, and it wasn't a good memory for one side.

France won 75-44 on their way to the gold.

Many years have passed since, and the stage is totally different but the memories of that humiliation probably still linger in the minds of some people on both ends of the floor.

Lithuania claimed one of the main reasons they lost the quarter-finals to Russia was

Rima Valentiene (Lithuania)
Valentiene hopes to have the hot hand for Lithuania.
fatigue.

Since France got one more rest day and they can run the floor, Lithuania will have to find the energy to survive this one, if they still want a shot at sn Olympic ticket.

Last Result: Lithuania gave a fight to Russia but lost 75-58 while France lost to Latvia 66-62.

Key Matchup: Sandra Le Drean is one of the most fascinating players to follow here. She doesn't excel more than others at one particular thing but she does a lot of great things and rarely make mistakes. On defense she can guard many positions and be a nightmare for most players due to her length and smart play. Lina Brazdeikyte who can hit it from close and long range will try to cause some match up problems for Frances tough defense, and might be the target of Le Drean for some minutes.

X-Factor: Lithuania's Rima Valentiene is still one of the best shooter in the competition. France could be in trouble if she starts hitting threes, while they suffer another scoring drought.

Key Stat: While Lithuania is one of the best long distance shooting team in the tournament with 5.7 three-pointers per game, France, and that's not big news, is the worse with only 2.7 hits from downtown per game.

What Does it Mean?: The winner can still dream about the Olympics and will get a chance to win the fifth place spot. The loser will have just honor on the line in the fight for the seventh spot.


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