EuroBasket Women 2011
Turning Point: Spain led 48-44 late in the third quarter but France scored 16 unanswered points as part of a 26-1 run to take a 70-49 advantage with less than three minutes to go.
Game Hero: France center Sandrine Gruda had a game-high 17 points and was eight-for-11 (73%) from the floor. She also dished out three assists, came up with two steals and blocked three shots.
Stats Don't Lie: France out-rebounded Spain, 37-22. France were superior shooting the ball. They finished 30-for-50 (60%) from the floor while Spain were 22-for-61 (36%). Spain's Alba Torrens was held to just two points in the opening half but finished with 10.
Revenge is a great motivator, and France proved that on Wednesday night as they blew away Spain at the EuroBasket Women in Katowice.
Driven by the agonizing memories of last year's overtime defeat to the Spaniards in the Quarter-Finals of the FIBA World Championship for Women, a French team that trailed by two in their Round 2, Group F opener going into the last quarter stormed to a 79-55 victory.
France lost Emmeline Ndongue to a foot injury in the second quarter but Sandrine Gruda, Endene Miyem and Isabelle Yacoubou-Dehoui made sure she wasn't missed.
Gruda had just two points at half-time but finished with a game-high 17 while Miyem finished with 16 and Yacoubou 10.
Yacoubou, in one of her best games in a France shirt, also had eight rebounds.
France out-rebounded Spain 37-22.
The two sides had played a thrilling first 30 minutes but when it was over, France had destroyed one the top teams in international basketball, the team that is number five in the FIBA World Rankings for Women.
Pierre Vincent's team, which is ranked seventh, outscored Spain 33-7 in the last frame.
The defending champions had lost in overtime on Sunday to Latvia and despite overcoming Greece on Monday did not look like a happy team with much swagger.
The French were mentally strong, though, against a very talented Spanish side that opened up a four-point lead in the third quarter.
Instead of allowing them to press home that advantage, Les Bleues hit back with a vengeance.
Plagued by 20 turnovers in the first three quarters, France had just two over the last 10 minutes and made 13 of their last 18 shots.
After missing all four of their attempts from long range in the opening three frames, France connected on four of their six.
France reeled off 14 unanswered points to go from trailing 48-46 at the end of the third period to leading 60-48 with 5:21 to play.
Spain's Laia Palau made a free-throw to interrupt the scoring rampage, but France's Endene Miyem sucked the remaining life out of Spain when she then hit a three-pointer from the top of the key.
That sparked a 10-0 run that gave Vincent's team a 70-49 lead.
Medals aren't won in Round 2, but France sure did their chances of getting to the podium a whole lot of good.
They may have also done further damage to a Spanish psyche that was already wounded by an upset loss to Montenegro in Group C.
Spain's still have two games in Group F to go against Latvia and Croatia to kick-start their EuroBasket Women campaign.
It remains to be seen if veteran Amaya Valdemoro, who has been out for three games with a calf injury, will feature in either.
Alba Torrens went into the game as the leading scorer in the EuroBasket Women but after scoring just two points in the first half, she finished with 10.
Sancho Lyttle and Anna Montanana finished with 11 points apiece.