France Shut Down Serbia To Win Bronze

3rd Place
7. Olivia Epoupa (France)
Olivia Epoupa once again displayed her all around skills, contributing 11 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds to the bronze medal clinching win

France are the bronze medal winners of the U16 European Championship Women 2010. In the game for third place France outlasted Serbia 50-44. Their defense was the key for the French's triumph.

They held Serbia to 44 points and also won the rebound battle pretty clearly (47-28). Olivia Epoupa had 11 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds. Axelle Koundouno tabbed 9 points and 13 boards. Natasa Kovacevic (Serbia) scored a game high 13 points.

Both teams started their mission for the bronze medal in a slow and controlled tempo. France already held a slight rebounding advantage in the first quarter but committed six turnovers. They trailed by 10-12 after ten minutes.

The French increased the tempo and outscored Serbia with 12-2 at the beginning of the second period. This run fuelled their confidence as they pulled away to a double digit lead (26-16). Serbia only scored 19 points in the first half. Losing the rebounding battle had been the key why they trailed by nine points at the break.

France kept their lead around the ten point mark for the most time in the third period. Kovacevic scored seven points in the quarter to keep Serbia's hope for bronze alive.

As they entered the fourth quarter France's lead was down to five points (39-34). The first three minutes went by scoreless. Midway though the quarter it was only a one point game (41-40). Eventually, Kovacevic tied the game at 42-42.

The game came down to who had the better nerves. They had been on the side of France. They scored seven unanswered points to go up 49-42. Serbia would only score two more points in the remainder of the game.

"This is a very good feeling" France head coach Jerome Fournier was relieved to win a medal. "The key for us was to stay in 1-on-1 defense. We wanted to stay simply in this defense and the strategy paid off." Fournier analysed after the game.


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