PONT DU GARD (France) - Home crowd in their favor, France will look to get back to winning ways at the FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series Pont du Gard Stop 2023 on August 31 - September 1.
Here’s what to expect at the twenty-first edition of the series.
Les Blueus are back, and looking strong! After an unsuccessful run at Baku in their last appearance, France are the favorites heading into the event in Pont du Gard. Laetitia Guapo will be making her return, alongside 3x3 World Cup silver medalists Hortense Limouzin and Marie Eve Paget. They will also be joined by Marie Mane who has been a bright force for the side.
There is no questioning how unstoppable the French can be. The offensive firepower paired with the fact that they are perhaps the most clutch side in the series, there is no doubting how far they can go with the home crowd on their side. Their last win came in Bordeaux incidentally, led by the trio of Limouzin, Guapo and Paget. They will unsurprisingly be coming into Pont du Gard with a target on their back.
Speaking of targets, the mercenarial Neftchi will be taking to the court off the back of a stellar few stops, winning their last appearance in Debrecen. Many teams have their bigs, none have been as diverse and unstoppable as Brianna Fraser. Her ability to score at will from the inside and from deep coupled with an immense defensive presence makes her arguably one of the strongest forces in the competition. Dina Ulyanova found her offensive stride in Hungary as well while Mollenhauer was clutch on both ends of the court. Arica Carter has been consistently gritty as ever, not to mention her clutch shot-making ability. France may be the favorites, but Neftchi are known to tear down the Giants.
Neftchi aren’t the only commercial team that has caught fire recently. Düsseldorf ZOOS, who had been one of the most skilful sides in the competition, finally connected all the dots as they picked up a superb Stop win in Baku. They went all the way to the final in Debrecen but just fell short to Neftchi. However, there is no denying that when the duo of Ama Degbeon and Aoi Katsura get dialed in, good luck. Not to mention the outside shooting of Yuka Maeda and the all-round versatility of Jenny Crowder. The commercial side from Germany are firing on all cylinders heading into France.
Perhaps they haven’t found success as recently as the other teams mentioned, but Spain have always been one to count on. Most recently making it to the final, but falling short in Melilla, the Spaniards will be taking to the court with an experienced four. Sandra Ygueravide will lead alongside Cecilia Muhate, Gracia Alonso and Juana Camilion. Whilst all of them are offensively stellar, Juana Camilion made waves in Melilla as she was lights out on the offensive. She finished as top scorer with 39 points while Ygueravide finished with the most key assists with thirteen. The team was just a step away from making it two stops for them, they’ll have a shot in France to pull off just that.
Though China are usually the first name on the list when it comes to contenders, the team taking to court in France will be similar to the one that had a disappointing showing in Baku. However, they have the pedigree and offensive skillset to turn favors on their side. Ming Zheng can shoot lights out while aided on both ends by Xinyan Hong, Xinyu Wang and Mengjie Wu. It won’t be the easiest path to victory for China, but if any team has the know-how to compete, it is certainly them.
The Netherlands have been one of the consistent sides that have always been competent, even making it to the final. The usual core of Loyce Bettonvil, Janis Boonstra, Noortje Driessen and Kiki Fleuren will look to grab their first win of the season. They have the offensive skill, running rings around opposition on their day. It will be fascinating to see how they perform in a loaded Pont du Gard stop.
The event won’t be without its flash and highlights though, impossible to be when the likes of Egypt and Portugal take to the court. KillaPatra Soraya Mohamed has been dazzling us from her first appearance in 3x3, so do not blink when they compete. Portugal have always been the fun side that get everyone cheering. The vibes are always right when the two teams compete. There’s also the fact that both have made deep runs in the competition, Egypt having made the final while Portugal have a stop win under their belt. The series is anything but predictable, so all eyes will be on the event at Pont du Gard for all the thrills and hoops.
Pool A: China, Czech Republic, France U24
Pool B: Neftchi (AZE), Netherlands, Egypt
Pool C: France, Düsseldorf ZOOS (GER), Austria/Ukraine/Portugal
Pool D: Spain, Sc. Yuanda (CHN), Malaysia/Mongolia/Azerbaijan
How to watch
The action takes place in France on August 31 - September 1 and you can catch it all on the FIBA 3x3 YouTube channel and Facebook pages.