The USA Basketball women’s national team and the Belgium women’s national team have won Groups C and D of the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup. Because they won their groups, they advanced to the quarterfinals which start on Friday.
For the Americans, anything less than the gold medal is unacceptable, so many WNBA fans on this side of the Atlantic probably won’t follow the World Cup closely until the end.
But for Mystics fans, we have two players in the World Cup on two different teams. Elena Delle Donne led Washington to the Finals for the first time ever and is on Team USA who has won two consecutive gold medals and four of the last five World Cups. Emma Meesseman represents Belgium and missed the 2018 season to prepare with the national team for their first World Cup appearance ever.
Considering that Belgium won their group in their first ever World Cup appearance, that’s nothing short of amazing. The other two countries making their debuts, Latvia and Puerto Rico, did not win a single game in group play.
On Tuesday, The Locker Room Facebook channel aired a video featuring Meesseman and three of her Belgian teammates, Kim Mestdagh, Hanne Mestdagh, and Julie Vanloo, talking in depth about how big the last year has been for Belgian women’s basketball, as well as their influence on younger Belgian players who wish to play basketball.
The entire video is in Dutch, their native language, but there are subtitles in English and French. In it, the four players talked about the rapid rise of Belgian women’s basketball and how it has made an impact on younger basketball players who wish to follow their footsteps.
As exciting as it is to see Team USA go for Gold again, it’s just as exciting to see Belgium make history in this FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup as well.