New tranche of France recruits face tough task in defending title
PARIS (FIBA U16 Women's European Championship 2018) - Following up on the glory of landing gold at last year's FIBA U16 Women's European Championship could be tough for the new-look champions.
There will be no continuity at all for the holders, as France turn the page with an entirely new squad for this year's edition in Kaunas.
None of those who famously raised the roof at Le Prado in Bourges are retained, since the same team who topped the podium are heading to the FIBA U17 Women's Basketball World Cup in Minsk next month.
That includes head coach Arnaud Guppillotte, meaning it is Vincent Bourdeau who picks up the reins to lead his nation's title defense.
So far, it looks like it will be a familiar duel with Spain on the cards at this year's tournament, with their neighbors having beaten Bourdeau and Co. 54-37 during the Tournoi du Poinconnet earlier this year.
At least France showed their teeth and potential to push for honors by sweeping aside Poland 90-35 and then also beating Czech Republic 55-35 - an opponent who they will face on Lithuanian soil in August during the opening phase.
The squad are currently being put to the test in a camp at Temple Sur Lot, with the group including promising talents such as Clara Djoko and also Maia Hirsch, who is the daughter of former Bourges coach and EuroLeague Women winner Olivier Hirsch.