OLYMPIC QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT
|France celebrating their win over Canada in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament|
France joined the Quarter-Final party at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women (OQTW) with an 87-33 rout of Mali in Group D on Wednesday night.
Pierre Vincent's team cruised one day after overcoming Canada in a hard-fought win.
Now awaiting Les Bleues are Korea in a Quarter-Final on Thursday.
The side that prevails will advance to the London Games.
"Korea can play fast, but it's a game that we've been waiting for a year, now," France guard Edwige Lawson-Wade said.
"We want to say that we finally are going to the Olympics, that we're going to London.
"And this game is going to be hard because Korea want to go there, too."
In the easy win over Mali, Endene Miyem had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the French.
Lawson-Wade had a game-high seven assists to go with her seven points.
Despite cruising against Mali, Lawson-Wade, the MVP of the French league this season with Lattes Montpellier, said the game was good for her team as they were able to employ different tactics that may help them in their next contest.
"We got to work on some things, especially some defensive schemes that maybe we'll use against Korea," Lawson-Wade said.
"Every game, it's important to stay in your rhythm."
Croatia won their Group C game against Korea, 83-75, and thus will face Canada in the Quarter-Finals.
For the Croatians, the new signing of Perfumerias Avenida, Marija Vrsaljko, had 26 points.
The Czech Republic finished first in Group B after grinding out a 68-54 win over Argentina.
In one of the eye-popping statistics of the entire OQTW, Petra Kulichova had 20 rebounds to go with her 16 points for the Czechs.
Both were game highs.
The Czech Republic will take on Japan in the Quarter-Finals, the team they beat at the same stage of the 2008 OQTW in Madrid.
Japan reached the quarters with a 79-70 triumph over Puerto Rico to seal second place in Group A behind Turkey.
Turkey, who had the day off on Wednesday, will face Argentina in the Quarters.
All four Quarter-Finals are on Thursday.
The sides that win progress to the Olympics and the teams that fall will battle it out over the coming days for the fifth and final spot on offer at the OQTW for the London Games.