Mystics forward Emma Meesseman took a risk in 2018 when she decided to skip the WNBA season in favor of resting and playing for the Belgian national team. If the Mystics failed to go far in the WNBA playoffs, Meesseman would be a scapegoat for many of their woes. And if the Mystics did go far in the WNBA playoffs, Meesseman could look expendable this offseason. And finally, there was no guarantee that Belgium was going to go far in the World Cup itself.
But in Meessemanesque fashion, she managed to come out ahead. The Mystics made the WNBA Finals for the first time in history, but it’s not like Meesseman is expendable. If anything, LaToya Sanders’ ankle injury in Game 5 is a stark reminder why the Mystics still have Meesseman in their plans as long as she wants to play in the WNBA.
And in the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup, Meesseman was the tournament’s second leading scorer at 18.2 points a game where she shot 50 percent from the field or higher in all but one game which was a loss to Japan. Furthermore, Meesseman averaged 23.5 points a game in Belgium’s losses to the United States in the semifinals and Spain in the bronze medal game. In fact, Meesseman played her best in the semifinals and bronze medal games, where she shot a combined 18-of-24 from the field!
Meesseman’s scoring told just part of the story. She also averaged 10.7 rebounds, dished 2.5 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.3 blocks a game during the World Cup. All in all, that helped Meesseman earn a spot in the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup’s All-Star Five, along with Team USA’s Breanna Stewart and Diana Taurasi; Spain’s Astou Ndour, and Australia’s Liz Cambage:
In short, Meesseman didn’t come back to her hometown Ieper with a medal, but she did get an individual honor for her performance.
When Meesseman returned to Belgium before the Russian PBL and EuroLeague Women seasons, she was on “De Afspraak,” a Belgian Dutch language television show on VRT, a public Belgian Dutch language broadcasting network. Meesseman was on an interview with long-time WNBA player Ann Wauters, who talked about the Belgian team’s performance and how most players were reacting to the United States.
Ik verstond Ann Wauters helemaal. pic.twitter.com/isgHiG7scR— Albert Lee (@aleeinthedmv) October 3, 2018
Here’s what Wauters said in Dutch from the video above. “We both played in the US. For many players on our team, their dream was to play against Team USA. After the match, we asked for their autographs and their sweaters. They really played against their idols.”
As Wauters was humbly stating that the Belgian national team was in awe of playing against the USA, Meesseman had a more ... interesting look:
Before we get to the Wizards game in a few minutes, Emma Meesseman has a lot of swagger.— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) October 5, 2018
Look at her shirt AND her face when Ann Wauters (R) said "They [ ] really played against their idols" in .
What's Emma's mind saying?
"Shit, Ik ben het idool van iedereen, verdomme!" pic.twitter.com/kt5DqFi7Fd
To be fair to Meesseman, she probably wasn’t thinking that she is “het idool van iedereen,” or EVERYONE’s idol.
But here’s the thing. Meesseman was one of the best players in the World Cup. She’s a WNBA All-Star (and so is Wauters). And she is one of the world’s best players.
And finally, look at that red sweatshirt she’s wearing.
We are all familiar with Good, Better, and Best. But Meesseman took it a step further. There is no Good in Emma’s world. Things are only “Better, Best, and Belgium.” After a big World Cup performance and a 2018 EuroLeague Women’s Final Four MVP award, Meesseman deserves to show her swag off a little. It isn’t a side of her we’ve seen much of in the USA. That said, it’s very good to see that Meesseman’s confidence has grown along with her game this year.
Go do you, Emma!