Belgium lost 77-75 in overtime on Sunday afternoon in Group C matches of the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Spain.
Emma Meesseman didn’t have the dominant game that she had on Saturday against Puerto Rico. In fact, Meesseman shot just 5-of-18 from the field, scoring just 13 points. That said, Meesseman still grbbed 18 rebounds, dished five assists, blocked two shots, and stole the ball once. She’s one of those players who knows how to make a positive contribution in other ways than scoring. That’s why she’s that hard to shut down completely.
Though Japan did a great job stopping Meesseman from scoring efficiently, they couldn’t shut her or the entire Belgian team out from the rebounding department, where they actually were dominated 47-29 as a whole.
For Japan, Maki Takada scored 26 points and Yuki Miyazawa added 21 more the win. For Belgium, Kim Mestdagh led their scorers with 23 points and made 7 of 11 three pointers.
This game was sluggish by both sides because they are both in the second games of back to backs. Both teams also played two whole games within a 20 to 21 hour period. However, Japan looked to be in more control throughout the contest. Part of that may be because they have more collective experience on the world stage where the Japanese made the 2014 FIBA Women’s World Championship and the 2016 Olympics. This is Belgium’s first go round on the world stage ever.
Though Belgium is now 1-1 in group play, their hopes of making the quarterfinals aren’t dashed. Spain is the overwhelming favorite in Group C and Puerto Rico will probably lose out in the group stage. If that happens, Belgium should be at least third place and compete in the qualifying round.
And speaking about Spain, Belgium plays them next on Tuesday. Spain is probably going to win, but we’ve said that about Russia in 2017 during EuroBasket Women and Belarus in the qualifiers before then. So, you never know. Belgium could pull off another stunner before it’s all said and done in group play!