|15 March 2013|
|Celine Dumerc is the natural leader of Bourges and always ready to take over a game|
Each weekday in the lead up to the EuroLeague Women Final Eight, fibaeurope.com profiles one of the eight teams who will be appearing in Ekaterinburg. Today we look at Bourges Basket.
Road to Final Eight: Only dropping three games during the regular season and all away from home , Bourges briefly looked to have blown their chances of qualifying for the Final Eight during the play-offs when losing for the first time on their own floor, succumbing to Wisla Can-Pack. However, winning game two in Poland allowed Bourges to return home and triumph in the deciding game in front of their ecstatic fans!
Keep an Eye On: Having been deservedly crowned FIBA Europe Player of the Year due to her London Olympic exploits in guiding France to silver last summer, Celine Dumerc has not quite reached those lofty heights this season, but always finds a way to lead her team - even if some parts of her own game are not in perfect working order. In tight situations down the stretch, head coach Valerie Garnier will be grateful that there are few better to get Bourges over the line. Endene Miyem has had a really good year and showed her value to the team by averaging 12.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
X Factors: Bourges have the superb foundation of the best defence in the competition to build on and this could be priceless. Their perimeter defence in particular is impressive, and can make up for their lack of offensive prowess. Bourges will always relish a low scoring and ‘grind it out' kind of affair, but won't want to be involved in any kind of shootout. That's why the ability of Dumerc to control the tempo of games is their entire mojo. In contrast, a furiously paced transition game is to Bourges, what kryptonite is to Superman.
Number crunching: Bourges allow their opponents fewer three-point attempts than anyone else during games. Along with Galatasaray, they are the only other team holding opponents to an average of less than 60 points per game. They are the thrid best team in rebounding, with Ndongue and Miyem cracking the top-ten in offensive rebounding.
Team History: Historically one of the leading French clubs, Bourges have made seven appearances at the EuroLeague Women Final Four between 1997 and 2008, claiming three championships and a second place. In recent years however, success at European level has been a little harder to come by.