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French Women Undefeated: France-Russia 65-54

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Les Bleues finish 5-0 and first in their group, with an impressive, dominant victory over hitherto undefeated Russia.

Team France's attack started slowly, but the defense was intense right from the start.

Captain and playmaker Céline Dumerc crushed her opposite number, ex-WNBA star and ex-American Becky Hammon, at both ends of the court. After yet another steal, late in the game, Dumerc gave Hammon an affectionate pat on the butt: "Maybe next time, dear..."

The inside game is usually a French strength, but has been sputtering in the last two games. Not this time. Against a Russian team also reputed for its inside game, Sandrine Gruda and Isabelle Yacouoba dominated their taller but less physical Russian adversaries. Emmeline NDongué was immovable and Endy Miyem on-target. Elodie Godin, the last player to make the squad, was excellent at both ends.

The backcourt -- sharpshooter Marion Laborde got more minutes than usual, and deserved them -- scored often enough to keep the Russians from collapsing on the paint.

The lead reached an unthinkable twenty-five points with six minutes to play, when the French started systematically running out the 24-second clock, letting the Russians come back from "ridiculous"...

France will play the Czech Republic in the quarter-finals.

Elodie-godin Elodie Godin