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FRA - Lawson-Wade backs Garnier to continue Les Bleues success
MONTPELLIER (FIBA World Championship for Women) - Recently retired French star Edwige Lawson-Wade has firmly endorsed the appointment of Valerie Garnier as the perfect play-caller to lead France into the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women in Turkey next year.
The amiable guard finally waved goodbye to her stellar and illustrious playing career at EuroBasket Women 2013, where she played in the Final, a game which also happened to be the last contest for Pierre Vincent.
The coach decided to step down after leading France to yet another medal, something which was a regular occurrence during his successful time in the hot-seat.
Now Lawson-Wade believes his successor can pick up the baton and fire Les Bleues to more podium finishes, having been able to assess Garnier in her role as an assistant to Vincent from the close quarters of the locker room and practice court.
"I think Valerie Garnier is the most logical choice for our national team" she said.
"She has proven her value by leading Bourges to a third place finish at the EuroLeague Women Final Eight and she was a great asset for the national team as a member of the coaching staff during the past two years.
"France is now one of the best teams in Europe but also in the world, so I think we have a very bright future that will hopefully start with a medal at the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women in Turkey."
But for one potentially game-winning play in the last seconds which France just couldn’t execute, both Lawson-Wade and Vincent may have departed national team duties with gold and as EuroBasket Women champions.
However, it wasn’t to be and Spain were narrowly crowned winners, much to the annoyance of Lawson-Wade, who still runs that last play over in her head – even if she refuses to allow it to overshadow her otherwise memorable career at the elite level.
"I still think about the last play of the final" she confessed.
"In fact, I don't think I will ever forget it.
"But, even with one of the biggest disappointments of my career, I am still very grateful about the way it ended with Les Bleues.
"We had so many amazing moments during that final year between the Olympic silver medal in London and playing at Eurobasket Women in France.
"The whole country was behind us and I have never lived something so amazing in my career."
Now Lawson-Wade is on the other side of the fence, having made the transition from the court to the basketball club office.
She is now General Manager of Basket Lattes Montpellier Agglomeration and is busily preparing her team for entry back into EuroLeague Women next month, having dropped into EuroCup Women last season.
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS