the Tango champions of France!

the Tango champions of France!

“I’m going to make a sensational entrance”, announces Iliana Rupert, her speaker in hand, before disembarking in the oven serving as a photographic studio accompanied by the traditional “We Are The Champions”. Four years since the Berruyères had not broken their vocal cords on the Queens title after a French championship final. That’s an eternity for a club like Bourges… “It was starting to take a long time, too long for my taste,” whispered captain Élodie Godin. “I’m really happy to bring the Cup home! We must therefore go back to the interval 2000 – 2006 to see the trophy removed for so long from the Prado. The mark of the emergence of new powers, such as ASVEL, but also of the Covid, which prevented the coronation of a team in 2020 then crowned a surprise last year, Basket Landes, in the format of a Final Oven.

The joy of the Berruyères at the final buzzer)
(photo: Oliver Martin)

So there was an air of return to normality to see Bourges again win the title of champion of France after a final dispatched against ASVEL (3-0). The fifteenth in its history, a record, now two lengths ahead of the Clermont queens of the 70s. “The culture of winning is still very present in Bourges”, beamed the president Agnès Saint-Gès, victorious for the first time in her mandate after having had the difficult task of succeeding the builder Pierre Fosset. “I am very proud to bring back the fifteenth title and to continue the course of this club, which is very dear to me, to which I had committed myself to my predecessor. »

Super Mann

The culture of winning is also a club spirit that trickles down to the pitch when the boat rocks. In the stifling heat of the Mado-Bonnet room, the Tangos went through a black series between the two halves: 10 minutes and 14 seconds without the slightest basket, enough to let ASVEL regain the momentum (from 20- 27 to 35-30). Five points difference only, of course, but a small beginning of vertigo in such a closed meeting. Until the moment chosen by Super Mann to bring order to the Berruyère city! Taped at 2/12 on shots, the Californian veteran could easily have sunk. “By missing so many open shots in the first half, she could have fallen into the trap of telling herself that it was not her evening”, admitted her coach Olivier Lafargue, before continuing with a sentence as explicit as unfinished. “To have people like that who go beyond the pain…” In three minutes, Kristen Mann thus broke the negative spiral by chaining four shots in a row, including two increased arrows. A crazy necessarily life-saving series (41-51, 33rd minute then 53-59, final score) for a group contained until then at 29% collective success. “I don’t even know what quarter I’m putting all these shots in anymore,” admitted the future Landaise with a big burst of laughter. ” The fourth ? Thank you, it’s all so blurry there. But I’m a shooter, you have to have a short memory. I knew my shots were going to come in at some point. »

Eight assists on 19 baskets for Elin Eldebrink
(photo: Oliver Martin)

“Players did not believe it”

Fifteen years after having settled down for the first time in France, in Tarbes, already seen in eight different clubs, Kristen Mann will therefore be able to savor her destiny of being the unexpected heroine of a final which will see her win her very first ring. national at age 38. The collective reward of two years of continuity in Bourges, of long-term work, of the construction of a collective alchemy, of a real team. All that will have been missing, in short, at ASVEL, weighed down by fractures between coach Pierre Vincent and his leaders, ghostly this Saturday (-2 evaluation for Ingrid Tanqueray, 6 points at 2/9 for Julie Allemand, 3 points to 1/5 for Marine Johannès). “Bourges is a complete team, which has what we lack”, spontaneously pointed out the Rhone technician, before listing the shortcomings of his group. “Commitment, self-sacrifice, courage, cohesion… There are players with us who didn’t believe it, who did things halfway, who didn’t get into it because it was is demanding, difficult. Not everyone was in unison when you have to be blindly determined in the collective project. Faced with less intense, less organized teams, we score a lot of points but as soon as the level of play rises, we are faced with our limits. »

In this case, it is difficult to find higher altitudes than the quality of play displayed by Bourges this season. Victorious in the EuroCup, champions of France, simply deprived of a historic treble by a badly negotiated extension after a dantesque final of the Coupe de France, the Tangos were one of the hits of the year in Europe! “Bourges dominated the season, they deserve their title”, proclaimed with one voice Pierre Vincent and Ingrid Tanqueray. “If we are not happy after a season like this”, let out Olivier Lafargue, in a very contained joy. “We go to the end in all competitions. We are having a great season, we have been very strong mentally. There, there is pride in the work accomplished…” Two years of effort and sacrifice to lead to a catchy “We Are The Champions” in the bowels of the Lyon hall. Almost really the chorus of a return to normal in LFB…

In Lyon,

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