Jeff Taylor PA Sport
France flashed their European Championship title credentials on opening day in Greece with a
|Cathy Melain had 13 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists|
91-55 demolition of Israel.
Les Bleues, the defending champions, may be a more inexperienced side than the group which captured the crown on home soil two years ago as Yannick Souvre, Laetitia Moussard, Laure Savasta and Isabelle Fijalkowski have since retired from the international game.
None of that fabulous four were missed on Friday in Pyrgos, though, as Alain Jardel's side limited Israel to just seven first-quarter points and cruised to an easy win.
The Israelis, making their first appearance in the championships since they hosted the event 12 years ago, trailed 26-7 after that horrific opening 10 minutes and battled to keep the scoreline
respectable the rest of the way.
Sandra Le Drean had 16 points, three assists and one steal to lead a balanced French attack.
In all, France had six players finish in double figures scoring with Cathy Melain chipping in 13 points, including two of six from behind the three-point arc, and five assists.
France dominated the game on the interior, not only shooting 66% inside the three-point line but also outrebounding the Israelis 62-28.
Liron Cohen had a game-high 18 points for Israel who shot just 28% from the field.
The easy win is good news for Jardel, who has tried to lower expectations this week on the back of France's upset by Greece in their final warmup game.
His players should be fresh by tip-off on Saturday when they face Serbia & Montenegro in another Group A game between two sides deemed to be serious title contenders.
Israel must now try and regroup before their clash against the Czech Republic in the last game on Saturday in Pyrgos.