TORONTO — As the inaugural GLOBL JAM event kicked off at Mattamy Athletic Centre, France’s U-23 women toppled the United States, taking the first victory of the competition 62-44.
France’s athleticism was on display early as they quickly found the rim in the first quarter, using their height and speed to jump out to a 14-6 lead.
Captain Marine Fauthoux scored five points and secured two rebounds in just five minutes of action in the quarter, with Oumou Diarisso adding a late six points and two rebounds to close out the first ten minutes of action.
“It’s new for me because for four years I have played with older players, now I am playing with younger players so it’s good because they have given me experience, and now I can give what I have learned during the Olympics and European Championships,” said Fauthoux.
Using that momentum to start the second quarter, France found themselves on an 8-0 run, but as the United States finally found their footing, they managed to come back to score 16 points in the quarter — largely thanks to the efforts of Mary-Anna Asare, who dropped eight points in the frame.
A late France run enabled by United States turnovers extended their lead back to 12 to end the quarter. Kadiatou Sissoko scored six points in six minutes for France, shooting 100 per cent from the floor, to help them diffuse the initial comeback attempt from the United States.
But the Americans refused to give up without a fight. After making adjustments at halftime, the United States got off to a 4-0 run to start the second half and cut the lead to eight points, thanks to Taya Robinson’s playmaking — a six-assist performance through the game’s first three quarters.
While the quarter saw much more of back and forth from both teams, with more physical play from USA inside the paint to find the rim, France managed to keep their 12-point lead heading into final quarter as Fauthoux racked up 12 points.
As the final quarter approached, the pressure from the United States continued to mount. Asare racked up another nine points in the half, leading their offence off of missed France shots and using turnovers to score in transition as Chloe Bloom capitalized and tallied five points in the quarter.
Janelle Salaun’s seven points for France in the final quarter increased France’s lead back to 18 points with just under a minute to play, which would seal the game and give France their first victory.
Asare finished the game with 17 points leading all scorers despite United States’ loss, and Fauthoux led France with 14 points while Salaun added a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds 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 United States we showed we can play physical, so I think it is a big accomplishment to show we can play,” said Fauthoux.