Sunday, December 21, 2008

LFB (France) 15/2008 - Bourges 67, Villeneuve d'Ascq 50

Villeneuve d'Ascq (9-6) has certainly gotten a few steps better since the beginning of the year - they added Iziane Castro Marques to replace Fatua Sacko, and managed to turn things around to at least compete in the Ligue Féminine. However, there are teams playing at another level, like Bourges (14-1). Bourges delivered a decisive 67-50 defeat at home in front of an announced crowd of 2,000 spectators to the visitors of Villeneuve d'Ascq, giving Villeneuve d'Ascq a lot to think about over the break.

The box score is here, and as you can see above, someone made a film of highlights of the game. The problem is that both teams are wearing similar-colored uniforms; it's very hard to tell who is who.

Bourges showed their strength by holding Villeneuve d'Ascq to just seven first quarter points. At halftime, the score was 35-18 in favor of Bourges. Villeneuve had only scored 28 points by the end of the third quarter, and Bourges pulled out their puzzle books in the fourth quarter and relaxed, knowing that there would be no comeback by Villeneuve d'Ascq.

Bourges hit 45 percent of their baskets, compared with a 40 percent rate by Villeneuve d'Ascq. The rebounding rate was even more lopsided in favor of the home team. Villeneuve d'Ascq turned the ball over a couple of times more than Bourges. Villeneuve d'Ascq would not make up anything at the free throw line - Bourges only afforded them ten visits.

Only two players scored in double digits for Bourges - Ana Lelas scored 15 points, and Nwal-Endéné Miyem scored 13 points. Ana Cata-Chitiga scored six points for Bourges, but picked up nine rebounds. Alessandra Santos de Olivera, who last played for the WNBA in 2001, scored only five points in 15 minutes of play.

Geraldine Robert scored 12 points for the visiting Villeneuve d'Ascq and Florence Lepron scored nine points. Iziane Castro Marques scored 10 points, but shot horribly from the field, 4 for 16, and turned the ball over four times.

Villeneuve d'Ascq only played seven players. Jolene Anderson did not play.

(* * *)

With that, regular season play takes a nice long European vacation. The Ligue Féminine will not resume regular-season play until February 7th, 2009.

Villeneuve d'Ascq has been presented with a problem. Iziane Castro Marques was signed by Villeneuve d'Ascq only until December 20th - the goal was that Izi would play just long enough for Fatou Sacko to recover. Izi was expected to be a sort of B-class player. Instead, Izi's play really helped the team turn around.

Fans and press want Villeneuve d'Ascq to sign Iziane Castro Marques for the second half. The question is if Villeneuve d'Ascq has enough cash to sign both players - with the world economy the way it is, does Villeneuve d'Ascq really want to spend that money? No one has heard anything from club management one way or the other, so the French fans don't know if Izi will be back in February. I guess we won't know until February, either.

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