Golden France Edge Russia In Final

05.08.2012

U18 WOMEN

Turning Point: France point guard Olivia Epoupa took over the game at both ends of the floor in the final quarter with some crucial rebounds and most importantly of all, ten consecutive points for her team.

Game Hero: Epoupa was sensational, finishing the contest with another double-double, this time pouring in 20 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. She once again showed that size isn't necessarily the most important factor when it comes to excelling on the glass. She also dished out five assists.

Stats Don't Lie: Both teams were well matched in most statistical categories but France just had the very slight edge when it came to shooting percentages, to see them crowned champions.

France 2012 champions
It feels nice on the top of the podium - France finally conquered an U18 European Championship Women title after a hard-fought battle with Russia in the final in Bucharest

French basketball added a new chapter to their glorious history after winning a first U18 European Championship Women gold medal with a 65-61 success against Russia in a gripping and frenetic finale to the action in Bucharest.

Having had to make do with silver during two of the last three Finals, France finally reached the top of the podium - although they were made to sweat for it all the way.

However with the irrepressible and dynamic Olivia Epoupa on board, they had just the player to provide the inspiration.

France enjoyed a productive first quarter, moving 14-8 in front but, as anticipated, this was never likely to be a one-sided affair with both sets of players knowing each other so well from not only this tournament but also from their duels at U16 level.

Russia had wiped out the early advantage of France to take a slender one-point lead at the break, helped by the excellent all-round play of Alexandra Marchenkova.

After three quarters of intense action, France finally began to slowly but surely edge towards the top of the podium as they put some essential daylight between themselves and their opponent, midway through the last period.

Even when France did make what looked like a decisive break, Russia never gave up.

At 64-58 and with only a handful of seconds left Zhanna Byazrova drained a three-pointer but time wasn't on their side, as the French sealed the game from the free-throw line.


 


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