Published on : 05/08/2021 – 18:59
Author of a magnificent unbalanced shoot at the end of the match against Spain in the quarter-finals of the Olympics, Marine Johannès allowed the Blue to qualify for the last four. At 26, the Normande has become one of the pillars of the France team. The basketball player shines in the selection, in the French championship and even in the WNBA.
There are only 23 seconds left to play. The Blue only lead by a small point in the quarter-finals of the Tokyo Olympics against their best Spanish enemies. The tension is at its maximum and the stakes are high: to qualify for the final of the Games. The back Marine Johannès then recovers the ball and splashes the match with a shot of which she has the secret. On one foot, out of balance and on the buzzer, she scores with the board, gives her team three points ahead and propels France into the last four.
“A basket in the Navy”, maliciously described the French coach at the site of the French Basketball Federation after this qualification at the end of the suspense. “I almost lost the ball. I tried to retrieve it and I felt I was going to have to shoot. I aimed the board because it’s easier at 45 °… and I had a bit of luck “, commented humbly Marine Johannès.
When she plays like that, Marine Johannes is irresistible!
8/16 on shots
– in 28 minutes
— Killian Verove (@KillianVerove) August 4, 2021
Top scorer of the game with 18 points, the 26-year-old basketball player knows how to pull off the miracle shot at the right time. The Normande native of Lisieux is however known to be reserved. Far from the lights, she makes her way discreetly, but with rare talent.
She discovered the orange ball at the age of eight at Pont-Lévèque, the same club from which Nicolas Batum, also qualified with the French men’s team for the semi-finals in Tokyo. It’s a thunderbolt. “The day Marine discovered basketball at Pont-l’Évêque, it was Jennifer, her sister, who we imagined registering. Our two daughters are shy and we thought it would do Jennifer good to practice a team sport. Finally, she continued dancing and the pony. For Marine, the charm worked immediately, “said her mother Geraldine Johannès to Ouest-France.
“The little Mozart of French basketball“
Teenager, her talent is already obvious. “She was sweating basketball, she only lived for basketball. She was able to do dribbles in the back and blind passes, so many things very rare at this age”, described to Sport in Caen one of her first coaches, Samuel Vallée, who made her join the Mondeville club. The first titles are linked: champion of France UNSS, champion of France cadets, winner of the Coupe de France cadets.
When she was selected for the first time in the France A team in 2015 with whom she will be crowned European vice-champion in 2017, 2019 and 2021, Mondeville coach Romain L’Hermitte even compares her, interviewed by the Liberté newspaper, to NBA star Stephen Curry: “They have the same style of play, Marine plays like a boy. There is no equivalent in France, even in Pro A for men. more physical, no one is able to take shots like her (…) Marine does not play the same basketball as the others. When she plays, it’s art. She has an incredible ease with a ball . He is the little Mozart of French basketball, she recites melodies “.
A few months later, she was recruited by the prestigious Bourges team and immediately took part in her first Games in Rio. The world is discovering the extent of its balloon capabilities in hand. In the semi-finals against the United States, in a ‘cross-over’ dribble followed by a step back and a three-point basket, she leaves behind Maya Moore, one of the stars of the WNBA.
A passage in WNBA
The American league then gives him soft eyes. In 2019, the Liberty of New York offered him to join the WNBA which is played in the summer, from May to August. From her first match, she struck the spirits by scoring 10 points in 16 minutes. Even if she could not play in the United States in 2020 because of a global pandemic and in 2021 because of the Olympic Games, she hopes to return to the American courts in the summer of 2022.
Until then, she will continue to wear the jersey of Tony Parker’s club, the women’s Lyon ASVEL, with whom she has signed a contract for two seasons and above all she will try to propel the Blue to the final of the Olympics. Despite her shy demeanor, she knows how to bring energy right when it is needed. On the pitch, she has an explosive temper that can sometimes play tricks on her. “She has to work to keep her calm during the hottest moments of a match,” explained her former teammate in Bourges, Élodie Godin, as reported by the official Olympic Games website.
Frustrations on which the player works on a daily basis. “I try to speak to myself and tell myself that it is not serious. The actions are linked so I try to tell myself that the next ones will be better,” she confessed to the French Basketball Federation.
A semi-final with a taste of revenge
On the road to the final stand the Japanese, a team already encountered in the group stage. The Japanese won the opening match (74-70). Marine Johannès had also seemed to suffer during this meeting, settling for five points in 16 minutes.
Two weeks later, the Normande shows another face and intends to learn lessons from this defeat. “We remember that first match, it was not easy. We still have tomorrow to work and we will continue on Japan,” she announced with the sobriety that characterizes her.
Les Bleues will play their third straight semi-final at the Olympic Games. In 2012, in London, they had managed the feat of reaching the final against the United States, where they had won the silver.