Angola and Croatia might be newcomers to the field, but they aren’t the only ones inexperienced in Olympic competition. The French women joined the fray earlier this month as they were one of the five final qualifiers for the field for their second appearance at the Games. Here’s a brief look at the team:
France | Group B
Olympic Games history: France is in the field for their second appearance. The only other time they’ve qualified for the Olympics in the sport of women’s basketball was in 2000, where the team finished fifth.
Place at 2010 FIBA World Championship: Sixth (5-4 overall record)
How they got here: 2012 FIBA World Qualifying Tournament (3-0 overall record)
Names you might recognize: Sandrine Gruda, Edwige Lawson-Wade;
In 2009, Gruda cracked the WNBA Top 10 list for blocks (41), the middle year of her three spent with the Connecticut Sun. Lawson-Wade, whose last year in the league was also 2010, had a five-season stint in the W with the last three for San Antonio. The 5-foot-6, 33-year-old point guard has been playing professionally since she was 17 and has 10 international titles (for various teams) under her belt. She is the only carryover player from France’s 2000 Olympics appearance.
Statistical leaders: France had two double-digit scorers at the FIBA World Qualifying Tournament as Gruda averaged 13.7 points and Isabelle Yacoubou added 13 points and a team-high 6.7 rebounds per game in their three tournament contests. Team captain Celine Dumerc and Lawson-Wade combined for 10.3 assists per game. As a team, France led the field with 21.3 assists and put up a second-best 74.3 points on 51.2% shooting each night.
Preliminary round schedule: vs. Brazil (July 28), vs. Australia (July 30), vs. Canada (Aug. 1), vs. Great Britain (Aug. 3), vs. Russia (Aug. 5)