TORONTO — When the inaugural GLOBL JAM event got underway at the Mattamy Athletic Center, France’s U-23 women topped the United States, earning the first win of the competition, 62-44.
France’s athleticism showed early as they quickly found the edge in the first quarter, using their height and speed to race out to a 14-6 lead.
Captain Marine Fauthoux scored five points and secured two rebounds in just five minutes of play in the quarter, with Oumou Diarisso adding a late six points and two rebounds to close out the first ten minutes of play.
“It’s new for me because for four years I played with older players, now I’m playing with younger players, so it’s good because they gave me experience and now I can give what I learned during the Olympics and the European Championship,” Fo said.
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Using that momentum to start the second quarter, France went on an 8-0 run, but as the United States finally found its footing, they were able to come back to score 16 points in the quarter – in large part thanks to to the efforts of Mary-Anna Asare, who lost eight points in the frame.
A late run by France, fueled by turnovers by the United States, extended their lead back to 12 to end the quarter. Kadiatou Sissoko scored six points in six minutes for France, shooting 100 percent from the floor, to help them thwart an initial comeback attempt by the United States.
But the Americans refused to surrender without a fight. After making adjustments at halftime, the United States went on a 4-0 run to start the second half and cut the lead to eight points thanks to the playmaking of Taya Robinson, who had six assists in the first three quarters of the game.
Although the quarter saw a lot more back-and-forth from both teams, with more physical play from the U.S. side in the paint to find the rim, France was able to hold on to a 12-point lead heading into the final quarter as Fauthoux poured in 12 points.
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As the final quarter approached, the pressure from the United States continued to mount. Assare tallied nine more points in the half, leading her attack off France’s missed shots and using turnovers to score in transition, while Chloe Bloom took advantage and tallied five points in the quarter.
Janelle Salon’s seven points for France in the final quarter extended France’s lead back to 18 points with just under a minute to play, which would have sealed the game and given France its first win.
Asare finished with a game-high 17 points despite the loss to the United States, and Foto led France with 14 points, while Salaun added an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double in the loss.
“We don’t have the experience that other teams have, but we showed that we can run, we have the intensity, today against the United States we showed that we can play physically, so I think it’s a big achievement to show that we can play, — Photo said.