While the Washington Mystics are beginning a three-game road trip against Western Conference opponents, they have two players who are across the Atlantic looking to lock up 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup slots in Emma Meesseman for Belgium and Klara Lundquist for Sweden in this year’s Women’s EuroBasket tournament.
Both of their national teams are in the quarterfinals which start tomorrow. Here’s the game schedule and what has happened since our last update on Sunday.
As a note, this is the first post on Women’s EuroBasket that is on the front page. You can click on our international basketball section and our Mystics hub to read the previous recaps which were on group stage games.
Sweden clinches a second consecutive quarterfinals appearance after a 64-46 quarterfinal qualifier win against Italy
In our last recap on Sunday, I published it knowing that Sweden was 1-2 in Group A, but didn’t know if they would get into the quarterfinal qualifiers since Spain didn’t play Slovakia when I published the piece. As you might have expected, the Spanish won 93-61. With that result in hand, Sweden finished third in group play, advancing them to the next round.
That set up yesterday’s game against the Italians who were second place in Group B with a 2-1 record. This game was all-Sweden, all the time as they never trailed in a 64-46 rout. Frida Elderbrink scored 22 points on 10-of-18 shooting to lead Sweden. Lundquist came off the bench scoring three points and dishing two assists in 15 minutes.
For the tournament, Lundquist is averaging 4.3 points and 1.8 assists per game (against 0.5 turnovers per game), but she is shooting just 27.3 percent from the field. While she has been able to take care of the ball, she has been in a shooting slump to say the least.
Cecilia Zandalasini led Italy with 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting.
The quarterfinals schedule is set!
Here are the games on for tomorrow, all for the quarterfinals. You can watch them on ESPN Plus.
- Sweden vs. Belarus, 12 p.m. ET in Valencia, Spain
- Serbia vs. Spain, 3 p.m. ET in Valencia, Spain
- France vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina at 12 p.m. ET in Strasbourg, France
- Belgium vs. Russia at 2:45 p.m. ET in Strasbourg, France.
Regardless of who wins or loses tomorrow, all of these teams will play on Saturday, June 26 in Valencia, whether in the semifinals or in classification games which will determine whether a team can at least get a World Cup spot.
What's at stake in the quarterfinals?
All of the teams are looking for at least one more win which guarantees them a World Cup berth.
For Sweden, they already got blown out 78-54 by Belarus last Sunday in the group stage and will be underdogs again. they will play the winner or loser of the France vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina game on Friday in either the semifinals or a classification game.
For Belgium, they are playing in one of the more star-studded matches of the tournament as Meesseman will take on Russian and Los Angeles Sparks center Maria Vadeeva. Both are teammates on UMMC Ekaterinburg during the winter! Vadeeva is averaging 16.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game in this tournament while Meesseman is averaging 20.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game.
Meesseman is the tournament’s second-leading scorer, just behind Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Jonquel Jones who is averaging 20.8 points, 14.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. Depending on how the results go, Meesseman, Vadeeva or Jones could be the MVP of Women’s EuroBasket.
After the quarterfinals, Belgium will play the winner or loser of the game between Serbia vs. Spain. This specific match is the toughest of the four quarterfinals in my opinion. So while Belgium is close to a second consecutive World Cup appearance and could still win it all, they shouldn’t think too far ahead. It’s just as possible that they may be staying home next year if their backcourt of Julie Allemand and Kim Mestdagh don’t get hot tomorrow.