PARIS (EuroBasket Women/FIBA World Championship for Women) - The sheer agony experienced by France at the EuroBasket Women in 2007, when the team finished eighth and missed out on the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women, is a distant memory.
Les Bleues have rebounded in grand style, marching to the European title two years later, capturing bronze in 2011 and then silver at last year's Olympics.
Now the French have an opportunity to do something special again, just as they did 12 years ago.
They have a chance to win a EuroBasket Women gold medal in front of their own fans.
France will serve as the host nation for the event, a qualifying tournament for the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women.
The coach since 2008, Pierre Vincent, agreed after the London Games to lead the national side again this summer and now the basketball federation has announced the names of 26 players that will battle for spots in his squad.
Among them is Celine Dumerc, the point guard widely acknowledged to be the most impactful player at the Olympics.
Her Bourges teammates Endene Miyem and Emmeline Ndongue are in the group, as well as Sandrine Gruda, a lynchpin in the UMMC Ekaterinburg side that recently won the EuroLeague Women.
The youngest player in the squad is 18-year-old Valeriane Ayayi of Basket Landes.
The 1.83m small forward has already made her mark in international basketball, featuring for France at the 2011 U19 World Championship for Women in South America.
Ayayi averaged more than 11 points and five rebounds a game as France finished sixth in Chile.
The oldest player in the preliminary squad is Olympic guard Edwige Lawson-Wade of Lattes Montpellier at 33 years of age.
Lawson-Wade was in the squad that captured gold in 2001.
France could also have a naturalized player in their team with Ohio-born Kristen 'KB' Sharp of USO Mondeville being named in the preliminary group.
Sharp has several years of WNBA experience under her belt, having played for New York, Indiana and Chicago.
Her last season in America was 2009.
France will launch their preparations for the EuroBasket Women (15-30 June) at the INSEP (Institut National du Sport, de l'Expertise et de la Performance) on the 23rd of April.
Once the tournament gets underway, France will compete against Sehttp://cms.fiba.com/cms/cms.asprbia, Latvia and Great Britain in Group C.
France preliminary squad: Marielle Amant (Nantes Reze), Valeriane Ayayi (Basket Landes), Ana Cata-Chitiga (BLMA), Sarah Chevaugeon (Lyon), Helena Ciak (Perpignan), Celine Dumerc (Bourges), Emilie Gomis (BLMA), Sandrine Gruda (UMMC Ekaterinburg), Laetitia Kamba (USO Mondeville), Adja Konteh (Aix-en-Provence), Pauline Krawczyk (Bourges), Pauline Jannault-Lo (Perpignan), Anael Lardy (USK Prague), Edwige Lawson-Wade (BLMA), Hhadydia Minte (USO Mondeville), Endene Miyem (Bourges), Emmeline Ndongue (Bourges), Alexia Plagnard (Lyon), Melanie Plust (Lyon), Paoline Salagnac (Tarbes), Kristen Sharp (USO Mondeville), Gaelle Skrela (BLMA), Isabelle Strunc (Perpignan), Ingrid Tanqueray (USO Mondeville), Diandra Tchatchouang (Perpignan) and Isabelle Yacoubou (Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje).