U18 Women Semi-Final
After they finished third in last year's edition, France wanted to make sure that, this time, they would not miss the opportunity to play for gold at the Global Vision U18 European Championship Women, in Oradea, Romania.
They pulverized Sweden, 80-54, to march on to the final.
Their outstanding performance was an open lesson about simple, efficient basketball but of course they had all the means at their disposal.
Dominant centers, sharp-shooting forwards, fast guards and, above all, that trade-mark team effort, intelligently managed from the bench by head-coach Arnaud Guppillotte and his staff.
Sweden came into the game looking like they were commencing preparations for the tournament, not like they were playing in its semi-final.
France had a rocket start, using the dominant presence inside of center Christelle Diallo, who had eight of her team's first 13 points. Meanwhile, Sweden went scoreless in the first four minutes of the game.
And this was only a glimpse of how this game would develop further on.
The French team neutralized almost all the offensive threats of the opponents, and shot over 70 percent from the field in the first quarter for a 28-5 score.
Still, they were not satisfied.
"Les Bleues" carried the riot also in the second quarter, and led 54-17 at halftime, after another ten minutes of nightmare for the Swedish side.
It was the biggest margin after 20 minutes in the entire tournament.
"I tried to keep my players focused for the second half. I told them at halftime to respect their opponent, and to play hard until the final buzzer," said coach Guppillotte after the game.
There was no indeed no change in the third quarter, when France used a 12-2 run to make it 66-19 with less than two minutes till the final break of the game.
Only in that moment they took the foot off the pedal a little bit, thinking that maybe there is still some another game on Sunday, one even more important than this.
Josephine Vesterberg scored all the points for Sweden in the first quarter, and 11 of her team's 17 until halftime. But that was all from her side in this game, as she never added another point to her performance.
Amanda Zahui, the Swedish star during the entire competition, was absolutely shut down by the French defense and went scoreless in the game.
On the other side, France turned the attention on the offensive end to Romane Bernies who finished with 17 points on 50 percent shooting from action and a perfect 3-of-3 from behind the arc.
Esther Moisan Niamke had a big contribution with 14 points, while Mamignan Touré and Diallo added 10 points each.
The French team finished with an excellent 51.7 percent from the field and crashed the boards with 42 rebounds, against only 21 from the losing side.