LONDON, July 30 (Reuters) - The French women's basketball
team produced a stunning overtime upset of three-times silver
medallists Australia on Monday in a wildly entertaining game in
the Olympic tournament.
The 74-70 victory for France marked the first Olympic defeat
for Australia against a team other the United States since 1996
and gave the winners a 2-0 record in preliminary play while
dropping the losers to 1-1.
"It was a big, big victory because it was against a big team
like Australia," French captain Celine Dumerc told reporters.
"It was not a target for us at the beginning of the tournament
but we played with desire and energy to get the win."
The tightly played contest had a thrilling moment that went
in Australia's favour at the end of regulation time.
After France had taken a 65-62 lead with three seconds left
in the game, Australian Belinda Snell heaved up a miracle shot
from beyond the midcourt line that went through the hoop with no
time left on the clock to send the game into overtime.
"I screamed for it (the ball) and I threw it up there,"
Snell said about her sensational game-tying shot.
France led by as many as 13 points in the game and Australia
led by as much as eight but the final minutes produced
"Whoa. That's basketball as we like to play it," France's
Isabelle Yacoubou said. "There were some mistakes. There were
some amazing shots."
Emilie Gomis, who ignited the French attack with 14 points
over the first five minutes of the second half, led France with
22 points and Dumerc contributed 13.
Suzy Batkovic led the way with 17 points for Australia, who
were hurt by having both Lauren Jackson and Elizabeth Cambage
Australian captain Jackson scored 13 points in just under 26
minutes on the court, while Cambage had 12 in less than 22
"As a spectacle for the fans it was a great game, but for us
it was a bit of a shame," said Jackson.
Dumerc said it was too soon for France to dream they could
top Group B for a favourable position in the quarter-finals.
"We started greatly with two wins against teams that are on
our level or even better than us," the captain said after the
rousing win that followed an opening 73-58 victory over Brazil.
"But we still have three games to play before we can even
think if we can top the group."
(Additional reporting by Romain Brunet; Editing by Alison