Game Preview: USA To Face France In Quarterfinals
The USA Basketball Women's World Championship Team, defending Olympic and FIBA World Championship gold medalist, takes on France, which captured the 2012 Olympic silver medal, for the right to advance to the medal semifinals. The game not only is a rematch of the 2012 Olympic gold medal contest, but the two teams most recently faced off in exhibition play in Paris on Sept. 21, and the U.S. suffered a narrow 76-72 defeat at the hands of host France. To follow the action, watch the game live (2:15 p.m. EDT) on ESPN3/WatchESPN or NBA TV and follow the USA Basketball Twitter account for game updates.
Defending FIBA World Champions, the USA women rolled through pool play with a perfect 3-0 record to advance directly to the quarterfinals where it will take on France for the right to advance to the Oct. 4 medal semifinals.
The U.S. opened play with an 87-56 victory over China, then surged past Serbia in the second half for a 94-74 victory and closed pool play with a record-setting 119-44 win over Angola.
“Obviously they’re a very good team,” said head coach Geno Auriemma of the USA’s upcoming opponent. “Their point guard is really good. She’s very smart, very experienced. And Sandrine Gruda’s playing exceptionally well right now. The game that we played (against) them in Paris, we did some great things and we did a lot of not so great things. I think we’re a different team than we were a week-and-a-half ago. I’m anxious to see what that difference is tomorrow night.”
Averaging 16.0 points a game, Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx) is leading the USA in scoring and ranks second in rebounding with 7.7 rebounds per game; while Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury) is averaging 13.3 ppg. and team-highs of 8.0 rpg. and 3.0 blocks a game. Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx) is averaging 11.3 ppg,. and Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) rounds out the USA’s double-digit scorers at 11.0 ppg. Tina Charles (New York Liberty) is averaging 7.0 ppg. and a team-high 8.7 rpg.
France advanced to the quarterfinals after winning its play-in game, 61-48 over Brazil. The team opened preliminary play with a narrow 50-48 loss to host Turkey, before closing out pool play with an 89-45 victory over Mozambique and a close 63-59 defeat of Canada.
In France's four games in Turkey, the team has been led by forward Sandrine Gruda (15.0 ppg., 8.0 rpg.) and guard Celine Dumerc (5.8 ppg., 5.6 apg.), both of whom also suited up for France in the 2012 Olympics.
Overall in FIBA World Championship play, the USA is 6-1 against France, with the lone loss coming in 1971 and the most recent victory, an 81-60 win, recorded four years ago in 2010.
The USA has reached the medal podium in each FIBA World Championship since 1979, when it claimed gold. Including the gold medal in 1979, the American women in the past nine Worlds have claimed six gold medals, one silver medal and two bronze medals, while compiling a 68-5 record for a stunning 93.1 winning percentage.
LAST TIME OUT: After leading by as many as 18 points in its most recent game against France, the USA Women’s National Team lost to a resilient France team that battled its way back to lead 71-67 with 26.4 seconds remaining and then made 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch to top the USA in the 2014 France International Tournament.
“They played really well, and we didn’t,” said Moore about the loss to France. “We didn’t play with the level of focus and energy that was required to beat them on their home court. So, we definitely are excited to get another shot at playing better, playing together and being more connected, now that we’ve been together that much longer, against a team that, if they get going, they can be pretty dangerous.”
Tina Charles (New York Liberty) was the USA’s leading scorer with 12 points, Moore added 11; and Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream), who also grabbed six rebounds, and Taurasi, who collected four steals, had 10 points apiece.
Gruda finished with 26 points and 15 rebounds, and overall, the Americans were outrebounded 44-38.
That marked the USA’s lone loss in its five-game exhibition tour, which was used to prepare and select the 2014 USA World Championship Team. The USA roster in Paris featured 15 active athletes as the USA’s game-changing center Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury) joined the squad once in Istanbul.
The previous contest between the two nations was in the 2012 Olympic gold medal game in a battle of unbeaten teams. France, however, was no match for the well-oiled American machine as the U.S. collected an 86-50 and the gold medal behind a 21-point, 11-rebound performance from Candace Parker.
FIBA world ranking: 4.
How France qualified: 2013 European Championship silver medalist (8-1).
World Championship appearances: 8.
World Championship overall record: 35-35 (.500).
World Championship medals: 1 bronze medal (1953).
Key players in 2013 European Championship: Celine Dumerc (6.8 ppg., 3.0 rpg., 2.7 apg.) and Isabelle Yacoubou (11.1 ppg., 5.4 rpg.) were named to the 2013 European Championship All-Tournament Team; Sandrine Gruda (12.0 ppg., 5.8 rpg.), Edwige Lawson-Wade (7.9 ppg., 2.4 rpg., 3.3 apg.).
USA vs. France at the World Championship: 6-1.
2012 Olympic finish: silver medal (7-1).
France At The FIBA World Championship
Year Record Medal/Finish
2010 5- 4 6th Place
2006 5- 4 5th Place
2002 4- 5 8th Place
1994 6- 2 9th Place
1979 2- 6 7th Place
1971 3- 6 6th Place
1964 3- 5 10th Place
1953 4- 2 Bronze Medal
Total 32-34 (.485)
USA vs. France @ Worlds
W 81- 60 2010
W 76- 41 2006
W 101- 68 2002
W 80- 59 1979
L 51- 68 1971
W 48- 37 1964W 41- 37