France Cruise To Victory Over Lithuania

13 July 2009

France did not have too many problems beating Lithuania 77-57 to go 3-0 and make sure of a place in the Quarter-Finals of the U20 European Championship Women in Gdynia, Poland.

France knew that the road to victory lay in stopping the tournament's leading scorer, Lithuanian center Gintare Petronyte, who came in averaging 21 points a game. 

Although she would get her 21 by the end of forty minutes, France's Doriane Tahane (10 points) and Ana Cata-Chitiga (9 points) kept her to only five in the first half and by then their team had a 38-25 lead.

It proved to be a lead they never relinquished.  

"We played Petronyte one-on-one, but I think the reason for the difference in the win [is our defensive effort against her]," said France head coach Alain Jardel. 

"We got out on the fast break so she had to run up and down the court and that tired her out."

With their bigs more focused on the defensive task of keeping Lithuania's star in check, France had to look to its shooting guards and small forwards to take over the scoring load.

Melanie Plust led her team with 15 points.  Darline Sula Nsoki had 13, and Aline Fischbach added 10. 

"We had good outside shooting in the first half and that was the difference in the game," said coach Jardel. 

France play Poland next while Lithuania faces a must-win game against Sweden.

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