The Latvians, defeated by Les Bleues at this event two years ago in Turkey in the fifth place game, a loss which prevented them from advancing to the 2006 FIBA World Championship for Women, prevailed this time 66-62 with Gunto Basko pouring in 15 points and Liene Jansone adding 14 with eight rebounds and three steals.
“It was a bit of revenge after losing against them in Turkey by 15 points,” Basko said. “But this means so much more and feels so much better.”
The Baltic side, which also got outstanding efforts from center Zane Tamane (12 points, eight rebounds) and guard Anete Jekabsone-Zogota (12 pts), led 61-49 with 3:15 remaining but the French closed the gap to 64-60.
They had a chance to cut the deficit to just one after Latvia fouled Celine Dumerc when she was attempting a three-pointer from the corner with 14 seconds remaining.
Dumerc hit the first and third free throws to make it 64-62, and after France fouled Jekabsone-Zogota, the Latvian ace sank both attempts from the stripe for the final scoreline.
Latvia will face the winner of Russia’s quarter-final against Lithuania.
Belarus continued their dream run at the EuroBasket by upsetting the Czechs 52-46 to reach the semi-finals for the first time in their history.
Facing a Belarus team that is growing in confidence with every game in Italy, the Czechs failed to score for more than nine minutes late in the game.
Belarus held a 31-27 advantage at half-time but appeared to be in trouble midway through the third quarter when they failed to score for eight minutes and the Czechs went in front, 41-39.
Belarus took control once again, however, and with 5:21 left, Snytsina made a jumper for a 43-41 lead.
And she hit another shot next trip down the floor to stretch the lead to four.
Belarus led for the remainder of the game.
Natallia Marchanka and Yelena Leuchanka each had 11 points for Belarus and Snystsina finished with 10.
Belarus face the winner of Spain’s game quarter-final against Belgium.
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS