Thursday evening, the French women’s team was very attractive. In front of her audience in Saint-Chamond, she made short work of Finland (103-77). Les Bleues have an appointment with Ukraine in Roanne this Sunday, against an opponent who fell heavily in Lithuania earlier in the evening.
It’s a perfect evening for the France team. Not only did the Blues linearly dominate Finland, 59th nation in the world, with art and manner. But they also enjoyed a real beautiful communion with the public of Saint-Chamond in a magnificent brand new Arena and its 4,200 supporters. They also benefit indirectly from the 19-point defeat of the Ukrainians in Lithuania (81-62), the same gap that they themselves had inflicted on the Blues, returning to the top of their group before facing… Ukraine this Sunday. A nation whose trip to Roanne is also financed by the French basketball federation.
Thursday evening, we will remember the overall mastery of a very effective French team on both sides of the field. All the players contributed, which only makes the success more successful. Among others, Marine Johannès (16 points at 7/11 on shots, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) got the crowd going more than once, captain Sarah Michel was very effective (12 points at 5/5 on shots, 4 steals), Migna Touré too (15 points, 3 assists, 2 steals) and Valériane Vukosavljevic, back after a year away from Les Bleues, confirmed her excellent form since the start of the season (15 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds ). We will also remember the brilliant first of Janelle Salaün (12 points at 5/6 on shots), before his exit through injury in the third quarter.
Serious and generous Bleues
If we except the first three minutes when the Finns managed more or less everything they tried (4-8, 2nd), the French team clearly dominated their subject. Les Bleues took the lead after five minutes of play (13-12, 5th) never to let go again. Valériane Vukosavljevic’s teammates inflicted an 11-0 in four minutes (21-12, 8th). In the first act, they developed an attractive, collective offensive game, and with address despite some loss of ball.
Above all, against a team that only survived by shooting outside, the girls of Jean-Aimé Toupane could rely on a great defensive intensity, like Pauline Astier, who multiplied interceptions, like Migna Touré, which also converted one into a 2+1. Dominating in many areas of play, apart from the rebound (9 offensive rebounds at the break for the Finns), the Habs have gradually detached themselves, without worries.
Janelle Salaün scored her first with Les Bleues on an offering from Marine Johannès to give France a 10-point lead (32-21, 14th). A few minutes later, Sarah Michel passed the 15-point gap. Meanwhile, Finnish star Awak Kuier was perfectly muzzled (4 points at 1/11 on shots and 3 fouls at the break). Result: the Bleues returned to the locker room with a 16-point gap and boosted confidence (47-31).
Les Bleues in total control
The second half was a bis repetita. The bar of 20 points difference was crossed as soon as the locker room returned on a shot on one leg of Marine Johannès, in total confidence, who, when she did not score, distributed a number of caviars (51-31, 32nd). With the exception of Helena Ciak’s outings through injury, who returned to the bench in the middle of the third quarter, and that of Janelle Salaün, author until then of a brilliant first and forced to join the locker room, everything has smiled at the Blue (75-54, 30th).
In the final quarter, the passage in the Finnish zone did not disturb Les Bleues who were determined to take care of their point average… and to cross the 100 points scored. Contract completed (103-77)! A good omen before the clash against Ukraine, a crucial match to take an option on qualification for the EuroBasket.
Development to follow.
Boxscore France – Finland / Group Ranking / Qualifying Calendar EuroBasket 2023
Photo : Marine Johannès (FIBA)