Mystics star Emma Meesseman scored 18 points and long-time WNBA veteran center Ann Wauters added 12 more to lead the Belgian women's basketball team to a 67-49 over the Netherlands women's basketball team at the Sporthallen Zuid in Amsterdam.
I labeled this match as one between two young European teams looking to get spots for EuroBasket 2017 in the Czech Republic. Sure, neither Belgium or the Netherlands is relevant in the FIBA Europe or worldwide, but both teams are in the Top-20 worldwide for girls' rankings. A number of the girls' team players will trickle on the senior roster, which will make both nations more competitive in FIBA Europe in the coming years.
But instead of a competitive battle, this game was a blowout from the start as the Cats raced to a 16-2 lead in the first quarter against the Angels.
From the Belgian Cats' Twitter Account, which is in English:
Preparation Game in Amsterdam - Netherlands /Belgium 2-16 (Q1)— The Belgian Cats (@TheBelgianCats) February 17, 2016
And in fairness, here's a tweet from the Nederlandse Basketball Bond, the Dutch equivalent of USA Basketball (Tweet's in Dutch):
(in English it reads: "Friendly match - #OrangeAngels vs. Belgium after the first quarter, 2-16 #GoAngels)
If you're wondering how many people attended the game, there was a decent crowd actually:
In de redelijk gevulde Sporthallen Zuid in Amsterdam is de oefeninterland tussen Nederland en België in volle gang. pic.twitter.com/qVpIzRAqX7— Topsport Amsterdam (@TopsportAdam) February 17, 2016
(With context -- not a literal translation -- the tweet says, "In the decently-filled Sporthallen Zuid in Amsterdam, the friendly match between the Netherlands and Belgium is in full swing.")
The Angels stormed back in the second quarter to enter halftime with just a 29-21 deficit. However, the Cats came back strong in the third quarter and never let go.
Preparation Game in Amsterdam - Netherlands /Belgium 2-16 (Q1) / 21-29 (HT) / 37-56 (Q3) / 49-67 (FT) pic.twitter.com/TxayiIO96y— The Belgian Cats (@TheBelgianCats) February 17, 2016
I'm not surprised that Belgium beat the Netherlands. After all, the Belgians have a front court made up of not one, but two WNBA-quality players, one of whom plays for the Mystics. That is why this match is relevant for us in the first place. The Dutch just don't have that type of talent on their team, even if their girls' teams are ranked in the Top-20 of the world.
That said, the Dutch came out sleeping to start this game. You can't score two points in a quarter and expect to win, even with some players unable to play because they are in America playing college basketball.
I wasn't in Amsterdam or the Benelux to watch the game, but the Angels' first quarter probably felt like some of the horrific offensive performances the Wizards have had at times this year. Like the Wizards' seven-point performance in the second quarter against the Heat on January 3, 2016.
That said, the Angels' first quarter was probably worse since they scored ... two points. At least they have a EuroBasket 2017 qualifier match on February 20 against Estonia, where they can get a bad taste out of their mouths. And to their credit, they played better for the rest of the game.
But for Meesseman and the Belgian Cats, they play Poland on February 20 in their EuroBasket 2017 qualifier. You may be a Marcin Gortat fan, but unless you're Polish, your loyalty to Washington, D.C. should win out. Go Belgium!