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Chartereau’s development crucial for French success
SOPRON (FIBA U18 Women’s European Championship 2016) - French forward Alexia Chartereau is ready to deliver as France eye a superb sixth successive trip to the FIBA U18 Women’s European Championship Final.
The pain of falling at the final hurdle last year has faded. A lot of basketball has been played since Chartereau and her teammates suffered their only defeat of the tournament to Spain in the Final in Celje.
The talented forward received some consolation in being named to the All-Star Five at the culmination of last year’s tournament, and she is sure to be in the running again if the early performances in Sopron are anything to go by.
As captain of a strong French squad full of quality guards and bigs, Chartereau provides a focal point. The French team overwhelmed Croatia on Day 1 before receiving a sterner test when facing the hosts Hungary on Sunday.
Chartereau did not have a big impact on the game in the first half, but she drained two huge three-pointers as France went on their decisive run in the fourth quarter. Head coach Arnaud Guppillotte lauded her contribution as a sign of her development: "She is able to be down in the first half but come back and win the game at the end. The first half was not at her strongest level but then second half, boom, she makes the difference."
"She's improved a lot in her mind, her competitive mentality." - France head coach Arnaud Guppillotte
Chartereau's size and power has enabled her to make the step up to higher age groups, and she admits that her exertions at the recent U20 Women’s European Championship in Matosinhos have taken a toll: "I feel a little tired. The U20's are tough, as the opponents are physically stronger, so it's hard work, but a good experience of course."
"She's improved a lot in her mind, her competitive mentality," says coach Guppillotte. "And she is able now, over the last 18 months, to carry the team on her shoulders. She has developed real leadership on the court and outside the court."
Chartereau in action against tournament hosts Hungary
Chartereau is quick to credit the quality throughout the squad, knowing that France will need plenty of contributors if they are to go one better than last year. She points to frontcourt partner MariePaule Foppossi as a key figure: "When you need maturity and stronger movement, she is there. She has a great impact on the game and she can help to provide the inspiration for us."
She will get her first taste of EuroLeague Women action in the 2016/17 season, having recently signed for French league runners-up Tango Bourges Basket - but for now, her attention is fully focused on going for gold with the French team, whose campaign continues on Tuesday against Slovenia.