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How good are Belgium’s chances in the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup?

The Mystics forward led her country to their first ever World Cup and they have a shot to disrupt the world order as well.

EuroBasket Emma showed up, no one else did. Michal Cizek, Getty Images

Elena Delle Donne will represent the Mystics on the USA Basketball Women’s National Team in the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup. Now, we will take a look at Emma Meesseman and the Belgium women’s national basketball team. Meesseman missed the 2018 WNBA season because she would have had to miss the playoffs if she came stateside this year.

Who’s on the roster?

Most of the roster from the bronze medal winning team from EuroBasket Women 2017 is back for the World Cup. Ann Wauters is the most accomplished player on the roster, where she was the first pick of the 200 WNBA Draft, was an All-Star in 2005, and was part of the 2008 San Antonio Silver Stars team that advanced to the WNBA Finals. Wauters was also on the 2016 Los Angeles Sparks team that won the WNBA championship but played sparingly on that roster.

The most notable player on the lineup outside of Wauters is Kim Mestdagh, a guard for Perfumerias in Spain. She is a sharpshooter and has more of an American flair than most of the Belgian players, even more than Meesseman. That’s partly because she played Division I college basketball here in the USA for Colorado State. The Rams are known for being the alma mater of WNBA stars like Becky Hammon and Wizards players like Jason Smith.

Julie Allemand is another player who is also notable for being a third round pick for the Fever in 2015.

How has Belgium done in pre-World Cup friendlies?

In June, Meesseman traveled with the Belgian team to China where they played in several friendlies. The Belgians spent their time at home playing other World Cup teams, including Turkey, Greece, and Argentina last month. They won the vast majority of their games.

How far can Belgium go in the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup?

Belgium is in Group C of the World Cup with Spain, Japan, and Puerto Rico. Spain won EuroBasket Women 2017 and will likely win the group. But Belgium should finish with a chance to qualify to the quarterfinals. In fact, head coach Philip Mestdagh noted that the goal is to finish there (link in Dutch). Though Belgium has strong frontcourt talent, they also are inexperienced on the world stage. Still, the quarterfinals are a realistic goal.