Netherlands win first-ever FIBA3x3 Women's Series Stop in Pont du Gard
PONT DU GARD (France) - In a repeat of the Shusha Stop, the Netherlands emerge victorious 21-16 against Neftchi in FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series Pont du Gard Stop 2023 on September 1-2.
Here’s the breakdown of the twenty-first stop of the season.
The Winners: The Netherlands
It was a long time coming, but the Netherlands finally got their stop win. Staying consistent over the last few stops with the core of Loyce Bettonvil, Janis Boonstra, Kiki Fleuren and Noortje Driessen paid off with them striking balance.
Ironically, their run started with a loss to eventual finals adversaries Neftchi. Boonstra and Driessen combined for 8 points, but the on-fire duo of Arica Carter and Brianna Fraser remained unstoppable as they combined for 14 points.
They dusted the loss off and never looked back. They faced off against Egypt where Nadine Selaawy went off for 9 points while Soraya Mohamed pulled the strings, but Fleurin’s 10-point display proved to be insurmountable. The win proved enough to take them through to the knockout stages.
Facing off against a Spain side that cruised through Pool Play, defense had to be key. Boonstra was immense in locking down the likes of Gracia Alonso and Juana Camilion. The trio of Fleuren, Driessen and Boonstra all scored 5 each to nullify Gimeno and Ygueravide combining for 15. The Dutch would come away with a 15-17 victory despite giving up 4 points in the last few moments of the game.
They took on a hobbled France U24 side who would be without Oceane Monpierre. The lack of size and options would cost the French as Bettonvil and Driessen combined for 8 points while Boonstra netted five in their victory. They had once again booked their spot in the finals.
Neftchi have been on a roll recently, having won two of their last three stop appearances. Ulyanova and Mollenhauer have been paint deterrents while getting their shots in rhythm. Arica Carter continues to run the show while Brianna Fraser has made serious claims as to who is the best player in the Women’s Series this season.
They started off with a swift 21 - 12 victory against Egypt. Raneem Mohamed put up 6 points and 5 rebounds but it wouldn’t be enough as Fraser would go off for 7 points and 9 rebounds, not to mention her teammates all scoring more than 4 points to seal the case. The Carter-Fraser duo would take care of the Netherlands in Group Play, scoring 7 each along with 6 and 7 rebounds respectively to seemingly skirt past the Dutch unscathed as they go perfect heading into the Knockout Stages.
Mongolia had a strong showing in Group play, taking on the commercial side from Azerbaijan in the Quarter-Finals. Indra Ulziibat would score 9 while Khulan Onolbaatar would run the game for her side, but the duo from Neftchi just wouldn’t be denied. Ulyanova would cause havoc in the paint as well, tallying 5 points and 6 rebounds as well as Neftchi would emerge victorious 22 - 16.
The Semi-Finals would be a real test for them, as they would take on the 2023 World Cup Silver Medalists France with the home crowd on their side. Instantly, Neftchi made the game gritty and physical, grinding the pace down to prevent the speedy French side from ever getting going. Guapo would score 5, going cold from deep as she shot 1-7. Fraser and Carter would continue their onslaught, combining for 13 points while Fraser would grab 9 rebounds. It would be a 19-14 victory for Neftchi over the overwhelming favorites France as they had their sights set on becoming the winningest team of the season.
The Netherlands 21 - 16 Neftchi
A repeat of the final in Shusha, it was the Netherlands that would have the last laugh. Ulyanova would open scoring for Neftchi begotten Driessen and Boonstra would strike to turn the tide. Fraser would answer, but would be overwhelmed as Kiki Fleuren would light up from deep. Boonstra would find mismatches and get buckets in the paint multiple times. With the Dutch lead only growing, Fraser had to find the second wind, fighting back strong as she would utilize her freakish combo of power and speed to brush past Boonstra.
The Netherlands were crafty though, as they would find ways to use the size disadvantage against Fraser to double up and apply pressure on her to miss. The opportunities would come fleetingly but would pay dividends for the Dutch as they would continually hold on to their lead they accrued earlier. Boonstra was crucial to the side’s success not only on the boards and defense, but her ability to keep their opposition honest on perimeter defense while also working her magic in the mid-range proved to keep the lead in their favor.
It would be Noortje Driessen who would call game with a lay to hand the Netherlands their first stop win of the season and a dish of revenge best served cold.
MVP - Janis Boonstra
A force in the paint, Janis Boonstra grabbed the second highest rebounds with 22 while being crucial to the team’s success. Her defense against each team’s star player was immense, even locking down Brianna Fraser in the final. Her scoring ability served as a huge benefit to the Dutch side as they came away with their first stop win of the season.
The FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series returns to Canada next as the Montreal stop 2023 takes place on September 2 - 3.