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Monday, July 23, 2018

Having Mastered Europe, Les Bleues Would Like to Conquer the World

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Photo Caption: 6-5 center Sandrine Gruda averaged nearly 20 points per game in leading France to a bronze medal finish in the 2007 U21 Women’s World Basketball Championships; her performance was so impressive that the following year she was signed by the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun. But Gruda won’t have a chance to do it again in the big time—at least not this year. In a huge blow for France, the French basketball federation announced last week that Gruda will sit out the 2010 Women’s World Basketball Championships due to tendonopathy, a painful overuse injury in her knee.

Photo Credit: Courtesy FIBA.com Media Center




By Bert Larsimont
Correspondent

From Sart-Eustache, Belgium

The French Women’s National Team is currently ranked eighth in the world. But they’re aiming for better.

The last time the French medalled at the Women’s World Championships, it was 1953, when France took the bronze. But having captured the European Championship in 2009 in Latvia, dethroning traditional European powers Russia, the Czech Republic and Spain (see Full Court’s report, Eurobasket 2009: Vive La France!), Les Bleues, the French National Team, have their eyes on the medal stand at the upcoming FIBA World Basketball Championship for Women, set to tip off in Brno and Ostrava, Czech Republic, on Friday, September 24. To that end, the team set up a rigorous preparation campaign beginning last March, featuring 13 scrimmage games against opponents from every continent but Oceania.

A strong preliminary group of 21 players was selected by new French coach Pierre Vincent over the summer and kicked off their training with a trip to l’Alpe d’Huez, a place usually better known for its spectacular Tour de France mountain cycling stage arrivals than as a basketball camp resort. Despite strange situations in the beginning of the French squad’s training camp in the Alps, les Bleues had a very serious preparation and actually never seemed so strong before. All prospective members of the French team participated in the training camp with the exception of 23-year-old center Sandrine Gruda of the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, who was expected to join the group once her WNBA season was over.

Never had the French looked so strong as when they headed into this year’s run-up to the World Championships on a program that took the team through the regions of Normandie (Mondeville), le Nord (Villeneuve d’Ascq) and Picardie (Amiens and Beauvais), all of which welcomed les Bleues  for their pre-championship tournament training. On paper at least, none of the opponents lined up for the exhibition tour, with the possible exception of Brazil, seemed any real match for France, or to be more precise the French National Team of 2009 that won the Eurobasket championship title.

Alas, that’s when the woes of attrition began to set in.

Originally published Wed, September 22, 2010


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NCAA DIVISION I TOP 25 COACHES' POLL
WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Week: February 7, 2012
RANK SCHOOL RECORD LAST WEEK'S RANK PRESEASON RANK AP RANK POINTS
1 Baylor (31) 24-0 1 1 1 775
2 Notre Dame 23-1 2 2 2 743
3 Connecticut 21-2 3 4 3 710
4 Stanford 20-1 4 5 4 685
5 Duke 19-3 6 8 5 650
6 Miami (FL) 20-3 7 7 6 604
7 Kentucky 21-3 5 15 7 584
8 Maryland 20-3 10 10 8 534
9 Wisconsin-Green Bay 20-0 9 24 9 530
10 Ohio State 21-2 11 NR-RV
(61)
10 483
11 Tennessee 17-6 8 3 11 476
12 Delaware 20-1 13 NR 12 434
13 Georgetown 18-5 15 11 14 379
14 Texas A&M 16-5 16 6 15 378
15 Nebraska 19-3 18 NR 13 309
16 Rutgers 17-4 14 12 17 372
17 Louisville 17-6 12 9 20 276
18 Gonzaga 21-3 19 NR-RV
(70)
19 234
19 Purdue 19-5 17 21 16 222
20 Georgia 18-6 20 12 21 202
21 Penn State 18-5 21 14 18 176
22 DePaul 17-7 23 18 NR-RV
(38)
92
23 Georgia Tech 16-6 22 NR-RV
(18)
22 104
24 South Carolina 18-5 NR-RV
(13)
NR 24 46
25 Vanderbilt 18-5 NR-RV
(23)
NR-RV
(19)
NR 45
Dropped Out: No. 24 North Carolina, No. 25 Kansas.
First-place votes: Total first-place votes received (if any) are indicated in parentheses following school name.
Others receiving votes: St. Bonaventure (22-2) 34; North Carolina (17-6) 19; California (17-6) 18; Florida Gulf Coast (21-2) 16; Middle Tennessee (19-5) 15; Texas-El Paso (20-2) 8; Texas Tech (16-6) 5; Brigham Young (21-4) 4; Fresno State (19-4) 4; St. John's (15-8) 4; Princeton (15-4) 3; Oklahoma (15-7) 2; West Virginia (17-6) 2; Kansas State (15-7) 1.
Rank remains unchanged since last week
Ranking has risen since last week.
Ranking has dropped since last week.
Credit: Courtesy Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). The weekly Division I Top 25 Coaches' Poll, sponsored by USA Today and ESPN, is based on voting by a Board of Coaches made up of 31 head coaches at Division I institutions all of whom are WBCA members.