France has qualified for the London 2012 after beating Korea 80-63 in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Ankara.
Sandrine Gruda, who made 8 of 13 field goal attempts, was the top scorer for France, scoring 19 points. Isabelle Yacoubou made a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Despite scoring only 2 points, 33-year-old point guard Edwige Lawson-Wade made 8 assists in 22 minutes.
For Korea, Jung-Ja Sin scored 17 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. Yeon Ha Beon, who made 4 three-pointers, scored 15 points. However, the rest of the team finished poorly, scoring only 31.
The first quarter of the game was very close and well balanced. Korea was leading by only 1 (20-19) at the end of it. But the French team was much better on the defensive end of the court in the second quarter. They held Korea, who was not able to score any points in the first three minutes of the quarter, to only one field goal in the first half of that period.
Gruda was the most influential player in France’s offense, scoring 12 points in the first half. After the 12-3 run in the first five minutes of the second quarter, France had a double-digit deficit. With little resistance only from Beon for Korea, France looked in control. They led the quarter 20-10 and held a 39-30 lead over Korea at halftime.
The display in the second half was not different from the second quarter. France completely dominated the game. Their defense allowed only 10 points again in the third quarter.
The final period was just a formality. France never looked back and never let the Korean team feel they could close the deficit. It was a well deserved victory for France. They out-rebounded (43-18) and out-assisted (21-13) the Korean team.
With this win, France has booked a ticket for the London 2012. Korea have a semi-final game with Asian rivals Japan tomorrow (Saturday).