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Basketball - 29. June 2013.

FRA - Time flies for Tchatchouang

ORCHIES (EuroBasket Women/FIBA World Championship for Women) - Just 12 years ago, France hosted the EuroBasket Women and went on an imperious march to gold medal.

Edwige Lawson-Wade was just breaking into the big time as an exciting young guard with Les Bleues.

Flash forward to the here and now and Lawson-Wade is still in the squad.

She's 34 years of age and competing in her last event.

France's Diandra Tchatchouang says it's not surprising that Lawson-Wade has had a long and successful career.

"She has worked so hard, so it's a reward," she explained.

"In 2001, I just started (playing) basketball and I was watching Edwige, my teammate, on TV and it's crazy to be here with her and France now.

"I can't believe that 12 years later, I'm here and we're in the Final game.

"But Edwige is like a role model for all of us. She's such a nice person and such a good player.

"She's somebody that you can always count on to give you good advice and I'm so proud to have her as a friend and teammate and really want to get the gold medal for her to end her career."

When Lawson-Wade and Tchatchouang stand next to each other on the court, French fans see the past, present and future.

Tchatchouang, who celebrated her 22nd birthday on 14 June, which was the eve of the tournament, is a real talent.

She figures to be a part of the national squad for many years to come.

Tchatchouang has already proved she can fight through adversity.

During her sophomore season with the Maryland Terrapins in American college basketball, she tore her ACL.

The recovery was long and hard, but successful.

Tchatchouang decided to return home and launch her professional career instead of continuing with the college game.

"I left because I was kind of homesick and I wanted to play in front of my family and friends again," she said.

"It was a great experience, though. I met great people and learned another style of basketball.

"It's different there, the work ethic - everything is different.

"I have to thank all of the people at Maryland because I know they all follow me and I follow them, too. I just love them. They helped me recover from injury.

"Everyone was supportive. My teammates were supportive. They were there for me all the way."

Tchatchouang didn't play at the London Games but has made a big impression on the squad this summer.

She has been a fixture in the starting line-up, playing an average of 18.4 minutes.

"It's easy to fit into this team," she said.

"The players are great, the coaching staff makes you comfortable.

"I'm really fortunate to have the teammates and the coaching staff."

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