France Shake Off Czechs, Progress To Semis

17 July 2008

France extended their winning streak to five games in beating the Czech Republic 72-65 to advance to the semi-finals of the U20 European Championship for Women.

Carine Paul scored 22 points and Ingrid Tanqueray added 16 as France captured first place in the Qualifying Round Group E in Chieti with a 4-1 record and will face Spain in Saturday's semis in Pescara.

Melanie Arnaud scored 13 points for France and Marielle Amant tallied five points and 17 rebounds in helping the French win the battle of the boards 54-29.

The Czech Republic fell to 1-4 in the group despite 22 points by Aneta Obrusnikova, who hit six three-pointers, and 16 points and 11 rebounds from Gabriela Giacintova.

The game was even early on with France leading 10-8 midway through the first quarter. That cushion grew to 15-8 after a triple by Paul and Abdou Ndiaye's team were up 20-17 after one period.

The Czechs could not get ahead though the game was knotted at 25-25 before Amant made two baskets to push France ahead 31-25. Marian Svoboda's Czechs continued to fight and trailed just 33-31 at the break.

Obrusnikova knocked down back-to-back triples to give the Czechs a 37-33 lead to start the second half. And they still were ahead 42-39 after Giacintova's triple. The game was knotted at 46-46 going into the fourth.

France raced ahead 53-46 following a three-point play and a second basket by Paul. Obrusnikova however kept the Czechs in the game with three more long balls - the third which cut the deficit to 61-60 with 2:30 left. Arnaud came back down and hit a jumper and then Paul drained a three-pointer to make it a six-point game again with a minute left.

And Ndiaye's team made six of eight foul shots in the final 36 seconds to secure the victory.



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