28 June, 2014
06 July
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FRA/USA - Les Bleues stun holders in preparation match-up

NOGENT-SUR-SEINE (FIBA U17 World Championship for Women) - Less than a week before they begin their search for a third successive FIBA U17 World Championship for Women crown, the defending champions USA were left stunned after France claimed an eye-catching success in the prestigious Nogent-Sur-Seine friendly tournament.

The host nation claimed an impressive 78-72 victory with an excellent team performance which saw four players score in double-digits, as France underlined their podium credentials for the Czech Republic in particularly striking fashion after wrapping up with a 3-0 record.

Alix Duchet showed her quality with an efficient 11 points against USA, while Alexia Chartereau claimed 13 points and seven rebounds for play-caller Julien Egloff and his jubilant side.

Despite holding a commanding 15-point lead at the interval and a 22-point haul from 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship for Women MVP, Asia Durr, the champions couldn't prevent sliding to defeat and it was one that left head coach Sue Phillips disappointed.

"I thought we really let up our intensity in the second half and France did an excellent job of executing their half-court set, got deep into the lane and shared the basketball extremely well.

"On the other hand, we settled for mid-range jump shots and didn't get the type of looks we did in the first half.

"Credit to France for a great game plan and playing extremely well."

She added: "This could be a blessing to this group, because we will play them again."

Having top scored in the contest, Durr pointed to carelessness with the ball as being the main factor behind the loss.

"We started off well, but then we turned the ball over," she mused after her team gave up an alarming 55 points in the second half.

"In the third quarter, they came out and made every shot they put up, so it was a tough game for us.

"We need to keep our heads up and get better in practice and use it as motivation."

In mitigation, the USA were without the injured Katie Lou Samuelson and losing a high-profile preparation game ahead of the FIBA U17 World Championship for Women isn't drifting into unchartered waters for the two-time gold medallists.

The Americans suffered a loss in the build-up to the inaugural edition of the tournament back in 2010 - ironically held in France - but that didn't stop them from rolling to the top of the podium.

France and the USA both beat Canada and China in their other games, with China losing all three of their match-ups after Canada grabbed a sole success with a 54-46 victory which was built on 15 points from Bridget Carleton.

Meanwhile, in another warm-up tournament which took place in Taranto, Italy, there was no stopping Spain who strode to first place after taking down Australia 73-58, following convincing wins against the hosts and Hungary.

Spain will stay in situ for another couple of days to play one final preparation game against Italy, before flying to the Czech Republic.