|14 August 2010|
GROUP BAnother thriller, another win for France at the U16 European Championship Women 2010 in Greece as they edge Serbia 50-46, overcoming a woeful first half performance.
The French played an impressive second part of the game, limiting the Serbs to only 11 points. The victory improved their record to a perfect 3-0.
French coach Jerome Fournier was pleased by the effort his team showed in the second half: "This team has a big heart. They play with a lot of energy, defend very well and find a way to win the games in the end."
Olivia Eqoupa posted 25 points for France. Natasa Kovacevic led the Serbs in scoring with 13 points.
Serbia took advantage of France's poor showing in the opening quarter. The team of coach Dragan Ognjenovic looked much improved after their loss against Croatia yesterday. They played with a lot of energy and paced the game to take a quick 12 point lead.
In the second period they kept up the good work. France struggled offensively and shot only 24 percent from the field in the first half. At one moment during the first twenty minutes they trailed by as many as 20 points. On the other side Serbia connected on five out of their eleven three point attempts on their way to a 15 point advantage at halftime.
While Serbia controlled the first half the momentum they completely changed in the third period. With each minute France got better and better. A 12-0 run helped them to cut back the deficit to 27-35. By the end of the third the French were back within striking distance.
In the middle of the final quarter they finally tied the game. After France equalized (46-46) both teams were locked in a stalemate for minutes without any points falling in for either side. With 1:58 minutes remaining it was Axelle Koundouno who ended the drought to bring France the lead. Serbia could not find any offensive inspiration in this crucial phase. France took advantage of that and eventually got a big comeback victory (50-46).
France is bound to play in the Qualifying Round up next but they prefer to keep their feet on the ground.
"We are not in the quarter finals yet," explained Fournier. "We have big respect for all the teams we are going to face in the next round."