Les Bleues are in the quarter-finals of the World Cup, and that's already very good.
If the French team won bronze at the Tokyo Olympics last year, and silver at the last five European championships, it lowered its ambition under duress, at the start of the Australian World Cup last Thursday .
Four potential holders had withdrawn through injury: Olivia Epoupa, Bria Hartley, Marine Johannès and, above all, Sandrine Gruda, top scorer in the history of Les Bleues (2,784 points in 215 caps).
It was with relative pressure that Jean-Aimé Toupane (64), successor to Valérie Garnier (2013-2021), entered his first competition, he who had no experience of women's basketball.
But who benefits from a workforce with "
beautiful talents, freshness and youth
", judges Audrey Sauret, consultant for
, broadcaster of the World Cup.
The coach of Les Bleues was the first witness to the takeover of Marine Fauthoux, Gabby Williams and, to a lesser extent, Iliana Rupert, who will be expected in the quarter this Thursday (10 a.m.) against one of the favorites, China .
Marine Fauthoux, fiery temper
She is indeed the daughter of her father, also a leader, who will be mentioned less and less as Marine Fauthoux has made a name for herself.
With 41 selections, she will soon exceed her dad, Frédéric, 47 caps.
Except that Marine is only 21 years old.
From 12 minutes/game at the Tokyo Olympics, it rose to 27 minutes/game in this World Cup.
She completely assumes her role and shows great maturity
”, admires Audrey Sauret, former leader-back with 202 selections for the Blues.
Against Japan (10 pts, 8 assists) and Serbia (11 pts, 4 assists, 3 interceptions), she alternated aggressiveness in the circle and creating the ball in hand for the others.
She is very good at reading games, on pick & roll
", underlines Audrey Sauret.
Fauthoux also shone by... his awkwardness at 3 pts (4/19 on the competition).
A parameter to be corrected, which is not the case with his rough defense despite his height (1.74 m).
She has a temperament,
notes Audrey Sauret.
Someone can make her 20 cm apart, it won't destabilize her.
The leader of Basket Landes savored the victory against the Japanese who had beaten them in the semi-finals of the Games in Tokyo.
I wanted my revenge.
It was not going to happen like that today
”, she whistled after the meeting, delighted to have “
the keys to the truck
” in the absence of the executives.
Gabby Williams, the go-to girl
The boss is her.
At the World Cup, only 4 players scored more than Gabby Williams (15.6 pts, 5 rebounds and 2.8 assists/game).
She is the "go-to girl", the one to whom we turn when the attack is at half mast.
The one who, on a dribble, an acceleration, a shot or a finish while touching, will unlock the Blues.
Like Fauthoux, the 1.80m winger “
takes her responsibilities
”, points out Audrey Sauret, relying on a strong “
” and exceptional athletic qualities.
The 26-year-old Franco-American, naturalized a year ago, had already weighed heavily at the Euros and the Olympics.
From now on, "
she is our leader
", confirmed Jean-Aimé Toupane after his record of points in Bleues against Australia (23 units).
He is not a vocal leader but one who sets an example and is efficient, with a very good state of mind,
analyzes Audrey Sauret.
What she gives off are only positive vibes.
And even in her speeches when she is interviewed.
“Williams is only in the continuity of his Euroleague, won with the Hungarian club Sopron Basket.
She was voted Most Valuable Player in the Final Four, a year after being voted Most Valuable Defenseman of the regular season.
Because its impact is not only in attack.
Read alsoWorld Women's Basketball: Gabby Williams, a Frenchwoman who "exhales the desire to win"
Its regularity and its ability to weigh in all areas of the game make it essential to the Habs.
But she is not without flaws.
Physically, she is a player who, I think, cannot play sequences of 12-14 consecutive minutes because she leaves so much energy in everything she does,
fears Audrey Sauret.
Even his jumpshot, he's got energy.
And for having been a little bit like this game profile, when you are like that in 2 pt shots which are in energy, inevitably, the address escapes a little bit with fatigue.
So far, Williams is 58% on 2-point shooting, but has posted a dismal 3/15 at 3 pts.
Iliana Rupert, back to earth
Like Marine Fauthoux, Iliana Rupert inherited a surname, that of Thierry, ex-French international (35 selections) who died suddenly in 2013 of a heart problem.
It is also for him that she wears the number 12, with which she has aroused immense promises (47 selections at only 21 years old).
But, for the time being, she is missing out on her World Cup.
Everyone was expecting it 300% because Iliana, everything she touches turns into a trophy
,” smiles Audrey Sauret.
Iliana Rupert against Japan on September 26.
BRENDON THORNE / AFP
For six months, Rupert has been close to perfection: French champion and winner of the Eurocup with Bourges, then WNBA champion with Las Vegas on September 18.
While being elected MVP of the French championship and MVP of the Final Four of the Eurocup.
These are very strong emotions, you have to come down very quickly
", explains Audrey Sauret.
Transition too brutal for the young native of Sèvres (Hauts-de-Seine)?
I took 17 hours of jet lag
," she laughed at
Tall (1.91 m), Rupert showed little of his technical qualities, at the top or bottom of the racket, and did not impose his physique in defense.
His performance against Japan (15 pts, 12 rebounds) seemed to have launched.
But the defeat Tuesday against Serbia (62-68), where she signed a 0/5 on shots and took only 2 rebounds, called her back to earth.
It will be useful to us for the rest of the competition
”, promised Jean-Aimé Toupane after his painful start against Australia (4 pts, 5 rebounds).
In the quarter-finals this Thursday (10 a.m.) against China, which relies on a strong domestic sector, it will be expected at the turn.