Both Lyndie and I were concerned about Mystics star forward Emma Meesseman's transfer to UMMC Ekaterinburg last month. The biggest reason why was because she must develop more as a leader and get accustomed to being a top option on her WNBA team. The Mystics need her to be that player if they are going to contend.
The Russian superteam was loaded with the WNBA's best point guard in Diana Taurasi and center in Brittney Griner who both play for the Phoenix Mercury. Since Mercury head coach Sandy Brondello is an assistant on the team (her husband Olaf Lange is the head coach btw), you may have been worried that Meesseman was going to be recruited to play for the Mercury at some point.
Well, the Mystics aren't going to let that happen as their star forward is picking up from where she left off after she led the Belgian National team to big wins over the Dutch and Polish national teams last month.
You see, Meesseman had a huge night in her EuroLeague Women debut on Tuesday as UMMC defeated KBSL (Turkish league) power Galatasaray, 72-56 at the DIVS Arena in Yekaterinburg, Russia. Tuesday's game was the first of a EuroLeague Women quarterfinals series.
UMMC started out slow in the game, allowing Galatasaray to race to a 25-16 lead at the end of the first quarter. But from there, UMMC gradually turned on the jets since Meesseman didn't enter the game until there were just two minutes left in the first quarter.
Meesseman ultimately played 26 minutes, scored 14 points on 7 of 11 shooting, grabbed 7 rebounds, and dished four assists compared with one turnover. Hell, she even had a steal and a blocked shot too.
Sure, Taurasi and Griner scored a combined 27 points themselves. But they also committed five of UMMC's turnovers, and neither shot as well as ... you know who.
For Galatasaray, Seattle Storm guard Jewell Loyd scored 19 points on 7 of 15 shooting. And Ann Wauters, Meesseman's Belgian frontcourt partner-in-crime who openly acknowledged who's better scored eight points on 4 of 11 shooting in what was a tough matchup against Griner.
To relive the greatness of Tuesday's contest, the entire game is embedded above via FIBA's YouTube channel.
The two teams will play again on March 11 in Istanbul.