French Clubs Gear Up For Crunch Time

18 December 2007

Bourges Basket will hope to transfer their domestic form onto the European stage when they take on ZVVZ Prague in a vital EuroLeague Women Group B clash on Wednesday.

All four French teams involved in the competition play on Wednesday, and Bourges again look to be the ones who could fly the flag for the country deep into the knockout stages. Last season, they reached the Final Four.

Their European form this season has been patchy - they only have a 2-4 record after a brace of wins against Jolly SBS Sibenik - but they are showing improving form in the competition.

Headcoach Hervé Coudray (USO Mondeville Basket)
Hervé Coudray believes his USVO team ought to have done better against Bourges in the French League

Domestically, they are in the groove in France's Ligue Feminine, and showed that by thrashing arch-rivals and fellow EuroLeague participants US Valenciennes Olympic 76-59 at the weekend.

That massive result put them clear at the summit on a 9-0 record, and thrilled chief playmaker Celine Dumerc days before the ZVVZ game.

"We are finding a balance slowly but surely, and things are clicking into place," said the France star.
"We know we possess some strong cards offensively. Now, after this success (against USVO), we mustn't relax.

"We must continue to work hard and we can't rest on our laurels. I want to believe that we can still get better."

The Bourges-USVO match-ups are always season-defining games, so the comprehensive victory will do much for the confidence of Pierre Vincent's team heading into their clash with the Czechs.

ZVVZ won the first contest between the two teams 60-51, and both are now on 2-4 records.

USVO will look to bounce back by creating a shock at another Czech side, Gambrinus Brno, on Wednesday.

Gambrinus (5-1) are in good form and are two points ahead of USVO (3-3) in the Group C table.

USVO coach Herve Coudray wants a reaction from his players, telling website "Even though Bourges are a well-oiled team, we ought to be capable of doing better than that. It was a little disappointing."

Elsewhere, USO Mondeville travel to Ros Casares with the mighty task of attempting to end the Spaniards' unbeaten run in the competition.

The Valencia-based team have won all six of their Group D matches so far, and look unstoppable.

USO are 2-4 and look to be battling with TEO Vilnius and Germano Zama Faenza for the fourth and final qualification spot in the group.

Lille Metropole, the other French team involved in the EuroLeague, are at home to TTT Riga in Group A as they look for a second victory of the campaign.

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Bourges, FRA
Moscow, RUS
Namur, BEL
Moscow, RUS
Villeneuve d'Ascq, FRA
Istanbul, TUR
Salamanca, ESP
Sibenik, CRO
Kosice, SVK
Gdynia, POL
Pécs, HUN
Sopron, HUN
Napoli, ITA
Valencia, ESP
Kaunas, LTU
Riga, LAT
Verkhnyaya Pyshma, RUS
Mondeville, FRA
Valenciennes Cedex, FRA
Krakow, POL
Prague 7, CZE