"If you took out our team and Angola, you'd have a hard time separating the other 10. That's a heck of a tournament," he said. "I've been impressed by the level of play."
If so, he might be the only one. The French had only one player, Sandrine Gruda, who played in the WNBA; every one of the Americans still do. That's why losing by 36 points felt like a victory, if only a moral one.
"We're so proud to be here. I'm so happy. It's amazing. It's heavy. It's wonderful. It's huge. It's a dream," said scrappy point guard Celine Dumerc, probably the only French player good enough to even ride the U.S. bench.
"We're here," she added, "and that's the best."
Make that second-best — and by a mile.
Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlitke(at)ap.org and follow him at Twitter.com/JimLitke.
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