Historical achievement on the largest court in France, Paris-Bercy. The girls of the Monaco Basketball Association beat CB Ifs 62-55, after an extremely tight match from start to finish on the last week. It is a major feat because Olga Tarasenko’s players went up against a team evolved in the NF1, a division above them. It is also “historical” since the Coupe de France Trophy has never been brought back to the Principality until now. So, inevitably, just minutes after the end of the game, the president of the MBA, Eric Elena, had a hard time retaining his emotion. “We’ve been trembling all along but that’s it! This is awesome. Going up to Bercy and bringing the Coupe de France back to Monaco is incredible!”
“It was difficult”
From the beginning of the match, the MBA girls attacked strongly, leading very quickly by 7 points. It did not last long; their opponents didn’t let them escape. The score remained very tight throughout the game. The biggest difference was the final score.
“I know them well, they were tense in the first half,” says Elena. “I knew they were going to be more free in the second half. The score remained very tight until the end. Two minutes before the end, we were leading by one small point. And then, Alex Tchangoue scored. Then it was played with the free throws. It is basketball; the match could have gone one way or the other. It was difficult but we won!”
Alexandra Tchangoue, with 21 points scored, 10 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 interceptions, was crowned best player of the match. “I always believed in my team, even before arriving in Bercy,” said the Monegasque player.
“We have worked well,” said coach Olga Tarasenko. “We were able to contain this dangerous team. I hope that we will be able to reproduce this in the championship climb to the NF1.”
Two hundred Monegasque supporters made the trip to Paris
This is Eric Elena’s main objective: “We attack the play-offs on Saturday in the best way. Monaco deserves to have a team in the Nationals! The highest amateur level.” Everything started on Saturday, in Belleville, near Nantes. The tournament is played over four weeks, notably in Monaco, at the Annonciade gymnasium on 13 and 20 April. Meanwhile, the mood after the game was celebratory. The whole team ended up with a large part of the 200 Monegasque fans who came to support MBA, to celebrate this great victory in a Parisian restaurant. There were 115 people around the table…
Interview with Eric Elena, MBA President: “I love you, you are beautiful!”
What did you feel about this final?
I was very stressed for three days. I did not want to show it to the girls, I was positive to them. But I saw that they were scared. So before we got to the court, I did something that I had never done before. I said to them: ‘I love you, you are beautiful! Whether we win or lose, we’re together!’
The objective remains the climb to N1?
More than ever! We won the most beautiful trophy on the biggest court in France. And now, we’ll try to keep climbing.