13 - 19
June 2016
11 Valeriane AYAYI (France)
to read

We must play a serious game against Argentina, warns France's Ayayi ahead of WOQT Quarter-Final

NANTES (2016 FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament) - Rising star Valeriane Ayayi insists France cannot take anything for granted when they face Argentina in the last of Friday's four 2016 FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament (WOQT) Quarter-Finals on Friday.

Although the hosts of the 12-team event are the favourites to win the encounter - and as a result secure one of the five tickets on offer for the Rio Olympics - the 1.84m forward feels they will need to prove it on the court.

Talking during Thursday's media availability, Ayayi said: "We have to play a serious game against Argentina to reach our goal. We know that we are 40 minutes away from reaching the Rio Olympics."

If they can beat the South Americans, Les Bleues - runners-up of the 2012 London Games - will return to the Olympics for the second time in a row.

"It's going to be a tough game," the 22-year-old noted. "They [Argentina] are also 40 minutes away from Rio."

France head into Friday's Quarter-Final on the back of two wins in as many Group Phase games.

Ayayi was asked what should be the key for France to overcome Argentina, to which she replied: "We have to do the job with our physical defense. But saying it is not enough, we have to do it."

The winners of Friday's four Quarter-Finals will advance to Rio, joining reigning Olympics champions USA, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Japan, Senegal and Serbia. The winner of Sunday's Fifth-Place Game will complete the 12-team field for the Women's Olympic Basketball Tournament.