The France team caused some concern before its entry into the World Cup against Australia, host country and reigning vice-world champion, due to numerous absences, in particular its three best scorers from the Tokyo Olympics ( Sandrine Gruda, Endy Miyem and Marine Johannes). But this Thursday in Sydney, Les Bleues sent a reassuring message, and even more: they managed the feat of dominating at home a selection that has squatted the world top 5 for twenty years (5 Olympic medals since 1996, five world medals including the title in 2006).
This victory was also not built in the last minutes. From the outset, the French matched their opponent, leading 14-10 after five minutes. During this first quarter, Gabby Williams, visibly not blunted by her disputed WNBA season with the Seattle Storm, signed 12 points. Australia then recovered (23-18, 13th), but the France team was able to catch up and took a slight advantage at the break (32-31), thanks to shots from Iliana Rupert and Mamignan Touré.
11 interceptions for the France team
Back from the locker room, Les Bleues continued their momentum, sitting on a defense that was the keystone of this success. Eleven times the Australians have been intercepted. And, on the whole game, they had only 26% marksmanship (against 48%). Williams and his partners counted up to seven units in advance (40-33rd, 23rd). A gap lost (42-40, 25th) … and immediately won back (50-43, 28th).
Even if the French lead remained fragile, Australia could then do better than return to four small points (54-50, 32nd). The Blues defense held firm. In attack, Gabby Williams continued her festival, finishing the match with 23 points and notably slamming a superb three-point shot to put her team away (66-57, 38th). The introduction of the French was superb. It will be confirmed on Friday (10 a.m.) against Canada, which beat Serbia (67-60). Australia will have to redeem themselves against Mali (corrected 89-56 by Japan).