China-France tops/flops: wild Chinese address, French defensive blunders
China’s crazy address
China’s basketball team played very well, demonstrating both efficiency and cleanliness throughout their game. They hit 54% from the field, including 42% from beyond the arc. The well-oiled Chinese team was able to deliver 23 assists, which proved to be the deciding factor in this quarterfinal match. They were able to maintain their lead because of their genuine intense rhythm, which they enforced thanks to the fact that they had five players with more than 10 points. This allowed them to do so even amid the Bleues’ attempts to make a comeback and France’s hot sequences. Meng Li (23 points) and Sijing Huang (18 points) never slowed down in their efforts to score their open shots and kept scoring. This defensive consistency played a role in maintaining the balance.
Good resistance to rebounds
It was one of the most important aspects of the game, and France performed quite admirably in this aspect of the game: at the end of the match, Les Bleus grabbed the same number of rebounds (33 rebounds in total) as China, despite an obvious height deficit in certain positions, while two Chinese players are over 2 meters tall (Xu Han and Yueru Li). Finally, the troops of Toupane will have been successful in muzzling the noise multiple times, which will have limited the amount of shattering that occurred in the air and prevented China from getting second opportunities on the (few) instances when the Chinese outside lines missed their shots.
The bright future of Les Bleues
Even though the loss was difficult to prevent, few people anticipated seeing a French squad of such high quality compete against a Chinese team of such high caliber on Thursday. The Blues produced a strong performance in the third period, even bringing them to within one point of China (57-56). Several players have responded, which is sufficient to have high hopes for the European Championship the following year with the return of executives Sandrine Gruda, Marine Johannès, Olivia Epoupa, and Valériane Ayayi: Gabby Williams (17 points) and Marine Fauthoux (19 points) brought satisfaction by perfectly playing their respective roles as offensive leader and future conductor of the French attack, respectively. Since Céline Dumerc has left the team, it is comforting to see the youthful Fauthoux energized in this quarter-final match. Alexia Chartereau, who contributed 10 points, was a force to be reckoned with on defense thanks to her towering stature and her ability to sink big shots.
Small defensive errors
France, which was not the favorite in this match, may have some misgivings because the players for Toupane showed a great deal of combativeness in several hot sequences from Les Bleus. Unfortunately, France committed various blunders while playing defense, the most notable of which was a wide foul that resulted in three free throws being awarded to China, as well as an interior surplus that resulted in spaces being created on the outside lines. Because of France’s inability to match up physically with particular Chinese players, the country frequently found itself in difficult switching and matchup situations.
Tadic disappoints a bit
Ana Tadic, who was tasked with playing the position of the interior, did not perform poorly but missed out on the chance to be more dominant on Thursday. At the beginning of the confrontation, she had a hard time keeping Yueru Li under control. Because of this, his coach, Jean Aime Toupane, only allowed him to play for a total of nine minutes throughout the game. The Blues could have benefited from his assistance with the rebounds and in the racket on multiple occasions when they were trying to chase down the address.