2018 FIBAWWC: France’s Les Braqueuses arrive with hope

2018 FIBAWWC: France’s Les Braqueuses arrive with hope

Les Braqueuses which means “The Robbers” which originated from their unexpected triumph in the 2009 Eurobasket. The robbers will be facing Korea, Canada and Greece in Group A of the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup in Tenerife, Spain. They are hoping for a podium finish this time.

Coach
Valerie Garnier: The 53 year old ex-international has coached French basketball teams since 1995 and France’s women’s national basketball team since 2013. She also took them to the 2014 FIBA World Championship were they placed 7th.

In March, Fenerbahce basketball club appointed her as head coach after taking France to three successive FIBA Women’s EuroBasket Finals finishing second in all, bronze medal at the Rio 2016, EuroCup Women title with Bourges Basket and a string of domestic silverware in France.

How they qualified:
The host nation (Spain) and the reigning Olympic champions (United States of America) qualified automatically for the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2018 while the other 14 participating teams earned their places through the FIBA Continental Cups 2017.

France alongside Belgium, Greece, Latvia and Turkey qualified from the 2017 EuroBasket Women. Les Braqueuses finished second in the EuroBasket Women losing to Spain in the final, their only loss in the Championship. They beat Serbia, Greece, Slovenia and Slovakia enroute the final.

Star players
Sandrine Gruda: The 31 year old 6 ft 4 In center plays for WNBA team, Los Angeles Sparks. She led her team to the EuroBasket 2009 title. The veteran star was the best scorer and rebounder of the French side, and was voted to the all-tournament team. Gruda is back at a major tournament for the first time since Rio 2016, having skipped national team duties last year
Marine Johannes: Will be making her debut at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2018. The free-scoring talent led France to last year’s Final of the EuroBasket averaging 7.7 PPG.
Endy Miyem: She is 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in) tall and a power forward with WNBA team, Minnesota Lynx. A silver medallist at the London Olympics in 2012. At the 2017 EuroBasket, she averaged 12.2 EPG, 11.8 PPG and 4.7 RPG. The 30 year old wealth of experience will be relied on in Tenerife.

Final Roster
Valeriane Ayayi, Marieme Badiane, Romane Bernies, Alexia Chartereau, Helena Ciak, Alix Duchet, Olivia Epoupa, Sandrine Gruda, Marine Johannes, Sarah Michel, Endene Miyem, Diandra Tchatchouang.

Expectation
Ranked number 3 in the world, finalist at the 2013, 2015 and 2017 EuroBasket Women, I expect France to consolidate on their Bronze medal win in Rio 2016 with a podium finish.

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