|21 June 2013|
EUROBASKET WOMEN 2013
|France's strength lies in their depth with everyone 1-through-12 capable of leading the team|
By Joe Hewison
France will put their unbeaten record on the line again when they face the Czech Republic in their second Group F game. But the Czechs are not short on confidence themselves having won three games in a row.
Last Time Out: France stayed perfect with a 78-70 win over Croatia despite a late lapse. The Czech Republic beat Great Britain 66-55 to make it three wins in a row after losing their first outing.
Key Match-Up: In Ilona Burgrová and Petra Kulichová, the Czech Republic have one of the few frontcourt pairings at this tournament that can match France in terms of sheer size in the paint. Isabelle Yacoubou and Sandrine Gruda will perhaps face their stiffest challenge yet, but of course, the Czechs do not possess France's depth at this, or any, position.
Key Stat: After four games, France are getting an average of 45.5 points from their bench in each contest. This is part of what makes it so difficult for opponents to stick with them over an extended period of time, even if they can compete short-term.
X-Factor: Three-point shooting. In their previous game, the Czech Republic and Great Britain were close in most departments but it was the Czech's three-point shooting that proved the difference. Michaela Zrustova hit four of her six attempts from long-range while Tereza Pecková also connected on three-of-four. This could be the way the Czechs hurt France given that the hosts struggled to defend against Croatia's three-point shooting last time out.
From The Camps:
Czech Republic Head Coach Lubor Blazek said: "France has the strongest European team I have seen so far. But the preparations we will make for this game will be the same as for any other."
France forward Diandra Tchatchouang feels it is important to guard against complacency. She said: "In the first three games we were up by around 15 at half-time but didn't let them back in the game.
"But in this game because we were up by 20, we stopped playing and that is how they came back. We have to be careful for that in the next games."