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Recap: Team USA blows out Nigeria, Belgium defeats Senegal

The Americas get back into form while the Belgian Cats clinched their second consecutive Olympic berth. Nigeria also clinched an Olympic berth.


The second day of games in the 2024 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in women’s basketball have been completed in Antwerp, Belgium. Let’s get to the results.

United States 100, Nigeria 46

Less than 24 hours after I had to play the both-sides game and the “whataboutisms” of the Americans’ near-loss to the Cats, (Belgium having a Mystics player NOT named Emma forced me to play that game too), I can finally relish in a simple narrative.

The Americans crushed D’Tigresses from start to finish. Sure, Nigeria led by 3 early in the game, but let’s be honest. Team USA was in control from start to finish and beat the Women’s AfroBasket champions by doubling them up on the scoreboard.

Washington Mystics guard Ariel Atkins got the start but played just 8 minutes. I’m not sure if that’s because she is a shoo-in for the actual Olympic team or because she may be passed over for someone else, but there wasn’t much to write about with the one Mystics player we would care about in this game. So I’ll take the convenient Team USA narrative.

Seattle Storm guard Jewell Loyd led the Americans in scoring with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting while Atlanta Dream forward Rhyne Howard added 14 points off the bench. The Americans shot 15-of-31 from three, only allowing the Nigerians to shoot 2-of-18 from three themselves. D’Tigresses were also limited to just ...27.7 percent shooting.

Since D’Tigresses beat Senegal yesterday, they would punch their ticket to the Olympics anyway, if the Cats would take care of business a few hours later. And the Americans are just playing these games as dress rehearsals for the actual Olympic games, though I think this is a good thing since the top world powers can play evenly against Team USA.

So how did Belgium do?

Belgium 97, Senegal 66

In the second game of the night, the Belgian Cats finally looked like the type of team that we have grown accustomed to over the last seven years since we started covering their games with multiple past Mystics players playing for the now-world power in women’s basketball.

One day after being stopped by Team USA, former WNBA player Emma Meesseman finally played like Emma Meesseman, scoring 32 points on 13-of-18 shooting and grabbing 7 rebounds in less than 30 minutes. In addition, Mystics signee Julie Vanloo added 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting. With the win, the Cats will earn their second consecutive Olympic berth. That also means that Nigeria will head to the Olympics.

For Senegal, Yacine Diop led with 22 points.

The qualifiers conclude on Sunday with Team USA facing Senegal and Belgium facing Nigeria.