France finished on top of group B, while Czech Republic earned a spot in the quarterfinals by defeating their respective foes in the final day of the preliminary rounds of the 2012 London Olympics Women’s Basketball.
France successfully ended their preliminary round stint without a loss after hammering out a 65-54 win over Russia in battle of two European powerhouse squads on Sunday night.
Celine Dumerc was the lone double-digit scorer for the French squad, finishing with 12 points, while Sandrine Gruda and Endene Miyem added nine and eight points, respectively, but it was enough as their balance attack was simply too much for Russia.
Leading by just four points at the half, France caught fire in the third period, outscoring the Russian squad, 30-13, to build a 21-point lead heading into the final period. They never looked despite a strong fourth-quarter performance from Russia in the final period to sweep their group.
With the win that clinched the top spot in Group B, France avoided an early matchup against USA in the knockout round and the soonest they can meet is in the gold-medal match if both teams will successfully reach the finals.
“To be first, second and third was all we cared about and not cross against USA,” said France coach Pierre Vincent. “I think they are unbeatable. Now we have a game we can win. We are focused on enjoying the Olympics and taking it step by step by step.”
France will be colliding with Czech Republic in the quarterfinals after the latter clinched a berth with a dominating 82-47 win over Angola.
Michaela Zrustova led Czech Republic with 20 points, while veteran Eva Viteckova added 19 points and four rebounds.
“I think we have to feel very lucky that we reached the Quarter-Finals. We feel happy,” said Czech center Ilona Burgrova. “We had a really rough start, very slow start, we didn’t play well. As we progressed through the group, we started to play a little better, a little bit more as a team. The shooters were able to score and it was easier to play the last two or three games.”
The women’s basketball quarterfinals will be on Tuesday.