By Jeff Taylor
A pair of EuroLeague Women All-Stars square off in Chieti on Monday when reigning FIBA Europe Young Player of the Year Sandrine Gruda of France goes up against Greece's Evani Maltsi.
Gruda, the big center who shone for US Valenciennes last season, should be the focal point of the attack for Les Bleues as they look to challenge for a place on the podium.
Maltsi will be well aware of her French opponents as she played at Bourges last season and faced most of the players in the France national side while a player a Bourges.
|Maltsi will need a big game for Greece to challenge France.|
Two of her teammates at Bourges, Celine Dumerc and Emmeline Ndongue, will be opponents on Monday in Chieti.
France are now coached by Jacques Commeres, who replaced Alain Jardel after last year's FIBA World Championship.
Key Match-up: Maltsi poured in more than 24 points per game for Greece in their successful qualifying campaign while Sandra Le Drean is a veteran in the French side who will try to slow her down.
Key Stat: Greece were a phenomenal 47.4% (37 of 78) from three-point range in qualifying.
X-Factor: Edwige Lawson-Wade is a terrific point guard for the French who gained a lot of confidence at CSKA Samara the past two seasons. Missing the past couple of tournaments for France, she brings a lot of quality to the backcourt for Les Bleues.