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Basketball - 15. June 2016.

Yacoubou powers France into Quarter-Finals




NANTES (2016 FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament) -áIsabelle Yacoubouástepped up when her team needed her most asátheáhostsáof the2016 FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament (WOQT)áadvanced to the Quarter-Finals thanks to aá70-52áwin overáNew Zealandáon Tuesday.

Yacoubou hadágame-highs of 19 points and 11 rebounds off the bench and France secured their second Group A win in as many games.

Turning Point: Leading 29-27 at the break, the question was whether the Tall Ferns would be able to remain as focused for the remaining of the contest. It tookáFrance's very best in the second half to see off a very determined opponent. á

Stats Don't Lie: Six lead changes througháthe first three quarters reflectedáthe competitiveness of the game. And by outscoring New Zealand 18-6 in the final frame, France showed resilienceáand determination to keep alive the dream of claiming one ofáthe five places at stake for theáRio Olympics

Game Hero: WhenáYacoubou was taken out of the gameáwith 5:25 left to play, local fans erupted with chants of 'Yacoubou, Yacoubou, Yacoubou,' reflecting their gratitude to the 1.90m center, who destroyed New Zealand's defense.

The Bottom Line: Knowing that a defeat against New Zealand would potentially impact the team's morale, coach Valerie Garnier opted for a taller although slower line-up with Yacoubou,áEndy MiyemáandáLaetitia Kambaálate in the third quarter. The strategy paid off as the Frencháheaded intoáthe last quarter upá52-46 - their largest lead of the game.

FIBA

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