Russia did not seem to know what had hit them early on as their opponents capitalised on early turnovers to race into a 10-1 lead, with Emilie Gomis collecting six points inside the opening three minutes.
Not for the first time in these Games, it needed the introduction of Becky Hammon from the bench to bring about a Russia revival, and the USA-born guard reeled off seven quick points, hitting a three that made it 12-10 to France.
But Russia were still playing catch-up against the hot-shooting French, who led 24-15 at the end of the first after Edwige Lawson-Wade hit a three-pointer.
Lawson-Wade stretched the lead further with three-pointers early in the second, putting them up 34-21.
Gomis' lay-up had France up 36-23 with two minutes left in the half, but Hammon's three-point play sparked an 8-2 Russia run to close the half.
Russia started the second half on a charge, and when Natalya Vodopyanova hit a pair of free throws the gap was down to 42-40.
Gomis extended France's lead with a three and another from Celine Dumerc made it 48-42.
They led 52-45 on Lawson-Wade's free throws, but Marina Kuzina kept Russia alive, hitting a big three and then making it 53-50 with a jump-shot.
But Sandrine Gruda responded with a three-point play, and when Dumerc ended the third quarter with a huge three France led 59-51.
They continued to pull away in the fourth quarter, with a big three from Lawson-Wade making it 70-56 with a little over five minutes to go.
The big shots kept coming, with Gomis making it 78-60 with 2:10 left on the clock and Dumerc sealing the win with a long three late on.
Lawson-Wade led France with 18 points while Gomis had 15, Gruda and Dumerc 11 each and Endene Miyem and Isabelle Yacoubou 10 apiece.
Russia got 13 points apiece from Hammon and Alena Danilochkina.