France Edge Turkey To Capture Bronze


France captured a bronze medal at the U20 European Championship Women on Sunday after coming back from a seven-point deficit late in the third quarter to win 65-63 over Turkey in Sofia.

Les Bleues, whose title dreams were ended by Serbia in Saturday's semi-final, had to play catch-up with 11 minutes to go and made the crucial plays to take home the victory.

Trailing 46-39 late in the third quarter, France outscored their opponents 18-8 over the next six minutes to pull in front, 56-54, with Carine Paul's three-ball giving her team the lead for good.

Turkey never lost hope and Gulnur Sandallioglu's big three cut the deficit 63-62 with less than one minute to play.

With 23 seconds remaining, Melike Bakircioglu missed a potential winning jumper after France had turned the ball over.

Bahar Caglar (Turkey)
Bahar Caglar had 11 points and 10 rebounds for Turkey.
Ingrid Tanqueray then buried two free throws to extend the lead to three.

France fouled Seda Erdogan with 3.4 seconds remaining.

She made the first and missed the second intentionally.

Bakircioglu came up with the rebound, but in an off-balance position.

Consequently, she travelled with 0.1 second to go, which essentially sealed the win for France.

"The difference was that we were very aggressive in the fourth quarter,” said French coach Francis Denis.

"It was very difficult for us because we didn’t have our best players coming into the competition due to injuries.

“But these players proved to themselves that they could achieve a very good result."

Jennifer Digbeu led the French in scoring with 12 points, six of which came in the last three minutes. 

Laetitia Kamba (France)
Laetitia Kamba had 11 points and a team-high 13 boards for France.
“This was the last time we played together as a group," she said.

"I am just so happy that I was  able to win this medal with my friends.”

Melike Bakircioglu scored her game-high 15 points in the first half as Turkey led 32-28.

Turkey scored the next eight points as they took a 38- 28 lead early in the third quarter but their hopes of pulling away were frustrated as France kept within striking distance, partly thanks to Digbeu.

Turkey held strong and went into the last stanza with a 46-42 advantage, but France rallied and ultimately prevailed to win their fifth consecutive medal at the U20 women's level.

France outrebounded Turkey 52-30.

Laetitia Kamba keyed France's rebounding effort with 13 boards.

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