In difficulty in shooting, the French basketball players were sluggish against Germany but ensured the essential with the victory (58-50) for their entry into the running at Euro 2023, Thursday June 15, in the Stozice Arena in Ljubljana. Unhappy finalists in the last five editions of the European Championship, the French women are aiming for a third continental title in Slovenia, after 2001 and 2009.
The players of Jean-Aimé Toupane, appointed coach in the fall of 2021 to seek this European title which escapes France, will find the parquet floor of the hall of the Slovenian capital on Friday (3 p.m.) against Great Britain, which won against Slovenia late Thursday afternoon. If successful, they can take a big step towards first place in the group, which secures a direct ticket to the quarter-finals and avoids a risky play-off.
Thursday evening, Sarah Michel’s teammates took two quarters to gradually take the measure of the Germans, who are playing their first Euro this year since 2011, taken by the defense of the opposing zone.
“The way, we don’t care a bit”
“It was a little laborious, it was not very good basketball. I think we were a little tense, we knew that the entry into the running was going to be complicated. It’s always a bit special when you play this kind of team, in addition with a zone defense. Everything was together. We win this match thanks to the defense, that’s all that matters, the way, we don’t care a bit “commented the French playmaker, Romane Bernies, at the microphone of beIN Sports.
The French had a very bad first quarter in attack, trailing 16-11 after ten minutes. They took control of the game in the middle of the second quarter, and escaped the score before the break, on an award-winning shot from Iliana Rupert (27-23). But like a failed counter-attack by leader Romane Bernies in the last six minutes while the Germans were still in contact (48-45), the Blues never managed to put themselves definitively shelter before the last five minutes.
While they were only one point ahead (46-45), Toupane brought in its executives Valériane Vukosavljevic and Sandrine Gruda. The best scorer in the history of the France team, Gruda had a bad night, not registering her first basket in the game after 36 minutes, missing her first seven shots and scoring only two points on free throws. Against Great Britain, it will be necessary to adjust the target, while the French have managed only a third of their shots, and 20% of their three-point attempts.