Europeans In London - Day One Roundup

29 July 2012

9. Celine Dumerc (France)
France point guard Celine Dumerc had a career-high 23 points against Brazil on Day One of the Olympic women's tournament

France, Turkey and Russia won their games on the opening day of the Olympic women's tournament in London but the Czech Republic, Croatia and hosts Great Britain lost.

The French, bronze-medal winners at last year's EuroBasket Women in Poland, struggled for more than three quarters against Brazil but finally pulled aw ay in the fourth for a 73-58 win.

Les Bleues only led 52-49 after the third quarter but outscored the South Americans 13-4 in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter and took command for good.

Celine Dumerc poured in a career-high 23 points to lead the French.

"It's really important to just get a victory at the start," Dumerc said, "and also against Brazil.

"When you look at our group, it's a tough one and we don't want to finish fourth.

"So if we want to qualify and be as high as we can, Brazil is one of the opponents that could compete with us for a top position in the group. So it's good we got this win.

The French are in Group B with the Brazilians, Great Britain, Australia, Canada and Russia.

France trailed by as many as seven points with Erika de Souza doing a lot of the damage for the Brazilians.

She finished with 17 points.

Last year's EuroBasket Women silver-medalists Turkey, who like France earned a trip to London via the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women (OQTW), brushed aside Angola, 72-50.

Tugba Palazoglu led Turkey's balanced scoring attack with 13 points.

EuroBasket Women champions Russia had a real fight on their hands with upset-minded Canada but survived, 58-53.

The Russians had a late run midway through the fourth quarter that propelled them to victory, with Becky Hammon scoring eight straight points in the victory.

Croatia gave the four-time defending Olympic champions Team USA all they could handle for three quarters before fading in the fourth.

Down 53-47, Croatia were outscored 28-9 in the last 10 minutes.

Luca Ivankovic poured in 22 points for Croatia, who also got 17 from rising star Marija Vrsaljko.

China surprised the Czech Republic, 66-57.

The Czechs dug themselves an early hole, trailing by 12 points.

Lubor Blazek, the Czech coach, said: "In the beginning, we let the Chinese take an 11-4 lead.

"All game long we were trying to make up this gap. What we needed all game long was just one time to lead by a couple of points for my team to calm down and believe.

"But whenever we pulled even, the Chinese team got some few easy baskets, some easy points and that's why we weren't able to get our force, our balance."

In the last game of the day, Australia had to dig in and see off a battling Great Britain, 74-58.

Johannah Leedham and Rachael Vanderwal had 11 points apiece for the Brits, who played their hearts out until the final buzzer.



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