The Belgium women’s basketball team is on a tear in EuroBasket Women 2017. They’re 2-0 after wins over Montenegro and Russia in consecutive days. We focused on Emma Meesseman the most, and by design. She’s one of the Mystics’ cornerstones. And we wanted to share her journey, especially when things are going well. After all, she made a Montenegrin defender fall for a pump fake (maybe?), let alone a crossover.
Speaking about crossovers, there’s one really nice play the Belgians made against Russia early in their upset victory.
With just under four minutes left in the first quarter, Belgian guard Julie Vanloo initiated a fast break by performing the classic “Bria Hartley behind the back” crossover with Russia (and New York Liberty) guard Epiphanny Prince in front of her.
Before Prince knew what happened, Vanloo passed to her backcourt mate, Kim Mestdagh who is standing behind the three point line. She literally took a fraction of a second to think whether to take the three, but did. End result? Swish!
You can see the play in the highlight reel above, or just look below:
This play pretty much defines Belgian basketball.— Albert Lee (@aleeinthedmv) June 18, 2017
Or the reaction I got when I asked for a Heineken at the Brussels Grote Markt 2-3 yrs ago. pic.twitter.com/aD6gP1wyTc
To be fair to Prince, she wasn’t facing Vanloo at the time of the crossover. And she didn’t fall. I’m not sure whether she could have successfully stolen the ball. But that doesn’t matter. The bottom line was that Prince was totally unaware that Vanloo was capable of making the half court pass to Mestdagh.
And as for Mestdagh — who played college basketball at Colorado State — she knows a thing or two about being flashy. American basketball players are often flashy when they make big shots. But flashiness isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
For example, moments like these are flashy, and not a bad thing.
Mestdagh didn’t taunt Russia openly. Instead, I’d like to say that her noticeable wait was her way of saying, “Hey Russia, stop this!” — in coarser language of course. Mestdagh would go on to score 16 points and make three of her four long range bombs for the Belgians. Vanloo went on to score six points (all from threes) and dished four assists against the Russians.
Finally, if you’re wondering where Vanloo and Mestdagh are from within Belgium, they’re both from Meesseman’s home province of West Flanders. Vanloo is from Oostende (pronounced Oh-stend-uh), a city on the North Sea, while Mestdagh is from Ieper, just like the Mystics power forward.
In closing, the Belgium women’s national team looks on track to make the quarterfinals and perhaps even better than that. The main reason why I am watching this team is to see how Meesseman does as a number one option. She’s holding her end of the bargain, as I expected all along.
However, Belgium can’t go far with just one player, or just a strong frontcourt since long-time WNBA player Ann Wauters is there. Belgium’s backcourt of Vanloo and Mestdagh is also performing well in their own right. They certainly found a way to make me write something specifically on them with this play!