champions in 2021, the Landaises opened the way


inspire elders. The very young Basket Landes group will offer its first Women’s League final this Saturday, May 11 (8:45 p.m.) at the Espace Mitterrand. But not the club’s first. And we only have to go back in time just three years to resurrect the memory of the gang of Céline Dumerc, Valériane Ayayi, Lidija Turcinovic and, already, Julie Barennes. A group of pioneers who would seek against all odds the first LFB title of Basket Landes. A success as unexpected as it was decisive in putting “BL” in the big leagues.

This title, the Landeses went to get it at the empty Prado, in a formula with Final Four on dry matches as unprecedented as it is ephemeral, Covid obliges. “It was great but there was no one there. It was terrible. Finding yourself in the lobby of this hotel in the evening, drinking an aperitif at 5. Pff, I prefer 100 times more to play a final in Mitterrand, ex-vice president Pierre Dartiguelongue whispers, mentioning the upcoming final on Saturday against Villeneuve d’Ascq. We received thousands of “Go BL” on social networks. But you didn’t have them, the 2,500 people in front of you. There you will have them. It changes everything ! But all ! If we have this second title… forget it. »

Trace the route

The fact remains that this 2021 coronation, even obtained in an exceptional format, is registered “for life on the club’s CV”, as Pierre Dartiguelongue recalls. And that it made it possible to place Basket Landes in the landscape of French basketball which wins, and therefore which counts. From there to imagine a connection with today’s finalist team, led by Alexis Peterson, Luisa Geiselsöder and, again, Kendra Chery, already present for the first title?

“I don’t know if we paved the way, but from this title, we said to ourselves that everything was possible,” believes Céline Dumerc. It opened the door for the first time when we imagined it locked. We showed that you just had to find the right key, or even tap it for it to open. It allowed us to show that it was possible, that we could win titles. »

Céline Dumerc has the opportunity to offer herself her first LFB title as sports director. His…eighth in total.

Philippe Salvat/SO

Outsider one day…

“Caps” and the others went to snatch the coronation from the hands of Montpellier, itself the winner of Bourges, after having dismissed Asvel in the semi-final. Only the big ones, the big names, when BL was mainly trying to establish itself little by little at the top of the table, and discovered the Euroleague that season. An outsider status which is reminiscent of that which still surrounded the gang in Barennes throughout the 2023-2024 financial year.

“It’s a bit of the strength of Basket Landes too. You give your all and see where it takes you.”

“The other clubs with us had this objective announced from the start, from the start of the season. We never said to ourselves that we were going to be champions of France. That’s a bit of Basket Landes’ strength too. You give it your all and see where it takes you. It gave this title in 2021, two Coupes de France. And there, two finals! »

Valériane Ayayi will be present in the stands on Saturday evening.

Thibault Toulemonde

From there find similarities between the 2021 group and the current one? The blue international Valériane Ayayi is more cautious on this point, recalling the difference in profile of the two teams, the youth and the discovery of the highest level for the majority of the 2024 squad. “It was very different, especially from the point from the perspective of each person’s experience. We had players who had been playing in the Women’s League for years, international players… But the story may be the same! »

The one that started at Basket Landes will in any case be present in the stands of Mitterrand for the first page of the last chapter of this, perhaps, very beautiful story.



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