Villeneuve-d’Ascq became the first French basketball club to qualify for the Final Four of the Women’s Euroleague in 10 years after beating Miskolc in the quarter-final support match (73-58), Wednesday in Hungary.

The Northerners, present for the first time in their history in the quarter-finals, succeed Bourges, the last French club to have reached (in 2014) the final four of the best European basketball competition.

We have to go back another 10 years to find traces of the last French title (Valenciennes in 2004). The Final Four will be played from April 12 to 14 in a city yet to be determined. Villeneuve-d’Ascq will face USK Prague or Italian Schio in the semi-finals.

Beaten in Miskolc (78-66) during the first match before winning at home (63-59), the players of Rachid Meziane, European champion in 2023 at the head of Belgium, this time knew how to tame the warm atmosphere set by the Hungarian supporters. While they collapsed two weeks ago after being up to 17 points ahead at the start of the second quarter, this time they never loosened their grip after a new start to the match foot on the floor (14-0 from the start, first Hungarian basket after 5 min 40 sec).

Superior athletically and internally (33 defensive rebounds to 23), they only weakened slightly at the start of the second quarter, where Miskolc came back four lengths (23-19).

But they quickly regained their ease, driven in particular by their duo composed of French international winger Janelle Salaün (16 pts and 7 rebounds) and American guard Kamiah Smalls (18 pts and 6 rebounds).

The reigning French vice-champions (and current leaders of the Women’s League) were also able to count on a double-double from their Ivorian pivot Kariata Diaby (15 pts and 12 rebounds), who gained momentum in the second half.

ESBVA started it with a 12-point lead (38-26), maintained at the end of the third quarter (56-44) before a final period controlled from start to finish until a basket from Salaün definitively sealing the victory 35 seconds from the buzzer (71-58).