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Preview: Team USA plays Nigeria, Belgium plays Senegal in the FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament

The FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament continues today.

BASKETBALL-FIBA-WOMEN-BEL-USA Photo by DIRK WAEM/Belga/AFP via Getty Images

The FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament continues in four countries, including Belgium, the pool we are most focused on. The United States and the home team are the top two teams in this pool. We will go over the games today that will be played at the Sportpaleis Antwerpen starting this evening (or early afternoon in Eastern time!)

All games can be watched on Courtside 1891

United States vs. Nigeria

Time: 12:15 p.m. ET (or 6:15 p.m. CET)

What is at stake: Since the Americans already qualified for the Olympics, they have nothing to play for besides dress rehearsals against some possible opponents. Yesterday, Team USA barely won against Belgium thanks to hot performances from Washington Mystics signee and guard Julie Vanloo and guard Maxuelle Lisowe Mbaka. New York Liberty forward Breanna Stewart saved the day with this shot.

Mystics guard Ariel Atkins played sparingly, but hopefully, she will get more time today against D’Tigresses.

Nigeria won 72-65 against Senegal yesterday in a game that does count toward an Olympic berth. Given that the Nigerians are the Women’s AfroBasket champions, it will be enough to clinch a berth if Belgium takes care of business today.

Belgium vs. Senegal

Time: 2:45 p.m. ET (or 8:45 p.m. CET)

What is at stake: After a heartbreaking loss against the Americans last night in front of the largest crowd to see a women’s sporting event in Belgian history overall, the Cats now play the games that actually count. First up will be Senegal, who MUST win tonight to keep their Olympic hopes alive.

Considering how rowdy the Belgian crowd was last night, I think the Cats should win this game comfortably. In addition, Cats superstar and former WNBA player Emma Meesseman should be able to return to putting up big points after being more of a post playmaker in yesterday’s game.

Hopefully, Vanloo puts up more big numbers to keep Mystics fans feeling optimistic about this season, even if Julie Allemand is expected to return after resting last night due to a nagging knee injury, according to Sporza (link in Dutch).