Australia’s Belinda Snell might have provided the Olympics with the clutch moment of the basketball events so far, but Celine Dumerc and France had the last laugh.
Snell’s half-court prayer was launched with less than two seconds on the clock – and with a little help from the backboard – it dropped, sending the game into overtime.
France though responded to take the game after a 9-5 overtime success, winning the entralling contest 74-70.
“It’s a big, big victory team,” Dumerc said afterwards. “In the Olympics it’s not easy to beat Australia, they want medals so for us it wasn’t a target to win this game. It’s better to win against teams like Canada or Great Britain but we came with a lot of desire and energy to play our game.
What made the upset victory more interesting was the fact that France started horribly; falling behind 10-2 in the first five minutes as Australia went to Liz Cambage and Lauren Jackson in the early stages.
France picked up the tempo as the second quarter wore on but Dumerc admits it could have been a lot better.
“The first half we were really bad, our game was really bad on offence,” she admits.
“We looked at the scoreboard [at the end of the first half] and we were plus one so we said ‘come on girls we can beat this team tonight’ so we came into the second half more focused on our offence and how we have to do all together and we found some good solutions but this kind of game is amazing.”
France are now 2-0 and virtally assured of a place in the quarter-finals which will be played at the North Greenwich Arena and Dumerc, like she did in their 73-58 success against Brazil was in fine shooting form, hitting three triples and going for 60 percent from deep in her 13 points against the Aussie Opals.
Dumerc, who plays her club basketball in France for Bourges Basket led all scorers with 23 points in the first game against Brazil.
When asked about Snell’s buzzer beater from half-court in the fourth, the 29-year-old chuckled: “I was laughing, I was like ‘please don’t do this now’ the game was finished, it was over.”
Dumerc admitted that the motivation at the time was with the Australians, behind for so long in the fourth quarter, they staged a comeback and it culminated in that clutch play.
“The motivation was on them because they came back,” she admitted. “For us it was like ‘damn we should win this game, it should be over’ but this game was so important and we ended up smiling at the end of the fourth.”
France play Canada next on Wednesday, while Australia, who are 1-1 play Brazil on the same day.