France pulled off a masterful 74-70 upset over the Australian Opals on Monday night to start their 2012 London Olympics campaign with two-straight victories.
Not even a 55-foot buzzer beater could save the Opals from absorbing an upset defeat that could hurt their title aspirations in London.
After a see-saw battle for almost the entire game, France looked headed to a 65-62 win in regulation, but Belinda Snell threw a hail-Mary shot 55-feet away from the basket and it went in to force and extra five-minute period.
Despite being stunned by the successful desperation heave from Snell, France kept their composure in the overtime, withstanding the Opals’ attack to escape with the hard-earned victory that puts them on top of Group B.
Emilie Gomis was virtually unstoppable in the second half as she erupted for all of her 22 points, providing the much-needed offensive lift from France, who came into the game as a heavy underdogs since Australia is considered as the second best team in the women’s basketball pool in London.
Celine Dumerc also had another solid performance, finishing with 13 points, while Edwidge Lawson-Wade and Sandrine Gruda had 11 points apiece with the latter adding six rebounds for France, who shot 6-for-12 from beyond-the-arc.
Suzy Batkovic, on the other hand, led the Opals with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Lauren Jackson and Liz Cambage added 13 and 12 points, respectively, but couldn’t help their team in overtime after both fouling out in the fourth period.
With the loss, Australia’s goal of winning the gold medal this time will be much harder. If France will finish on top of their group and the Opals will end up second, they will potentially face USA in the semifinals unlike in the previous Olympic when the two powerhouses met in the gold medal match.
The Opals will try to bounce back on Wednesday when they go up against Brazil.