France Defeat Latvia, Edge Closer To Semis

Diandra Tchatchouang collected 23 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots in helping France take a giant step towards the semi-finals of the Termosteps U16 European Championship Women with a 73-65 victory over Latvia.

France remained undefeated in the tournament and 4-0 in Group F.

And Gregory Halin's team can advance to Saturday's semi-finals even if they lose by 15 points against three-time reigning champions Spain in their final Qualifying Round game.

But the French boss doesn't want to think about the numbers game.

"We want to beat Spain and knock them out of the tournament," said Halin, who was coach of the French team which handed Spain their only loss in the past three U16 tournaments - in the 2005 Qualifying Round. Spain later beat France in the gold medal game.

"This is a different generation, but of course that game is still in some of our heads."

Halin was impressed with his side's showing against the motivated hosts Latvia, adding: "We knew it would be tough. But we just played our game. And the most important thing was we worked hard - especially against their very good big players."

Sabine Niedola again had a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds, but Anete Kirsteine was the only other Latvian weapon with 19 points.

France began taking over the game early in the third period and pushed the lead to 16 points going into the fourth - 57-41. The advantage grew to 18 with six minutes left and Halin kept his starters on the court to keep Latvia at bay.

Margaux Okou Zouzouo added 12 points for the French.

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