France fend off Belgium, still perfect

Adja Konteh scored 14 points and spearheaded a decisive 12-0 fourth quarter run as France fought off Belgium 72-63 to remain undefeated at the Termosteps U16 European Championship Women.

France clinched first place in the Qualifying Round Group E at 5-0 record with Eléonore Grossemy collecting 12 points and 11 rebounds while Hélèna Akmouche had 13 points and Florine Basque chipped in 11 rebounds.

France will next play Italy in Saturday's semi-finals.

Belgium lost their second straight game to drop to 3-2 and now must sweat out the final two Group E matches to see if they reach semi-finals.

Julie Vanloo (Belgium), Marion Lemonnier (France, left)
Julie Vanloo (Belgium, right) scored 14 points

Julie Vanloo had 14 points for Etienne Louvrier's team while Lut De Meyer scored 13 points. But Belgium allowed France to shoot 46 percent for the game.

Akmouche and Konteh combined for 11 points in giving France a 13-4 advantage after three minutes. And the lead was still 20-10 after Jenny Fouasseau's basket. But Belgium cut the deficit to 20-14 after one period. Louvrier's Belgians stayed close to the French throughout the second quarter but Fouasseau and Grossemy both hit from long range and France led 32-28 at intermission.

Belgium used the long ball to stay in the game and knotted the affair at 40-40 after triples Inge Meylemans and Vanloo. Grossemy converted a three-point play and Esther Moisan Niamke was on target from long range as the French re-established a 56-48 cushion after three periods. Christelle Diallo pushed the advantage to 10 points but the Belgians refused to go away. Vanloo and Lynn Delvaux both hit triples and Silke Storme converted a three-point play to pull Belgium within 60-59. But Konteh took over, collecting three baskets, a steal and a blocked shot while also forcing a 24-second violation in France's decisive 12-0 run over a five-minute stretch for a 72-59 lead.

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