On December 12, FIBA Europe announced the group draws for EuroBasket Women 2019. For Mystics forward Emma Meesseman and the No. 16 Belgium women’s national basketball team, they were put in Group D with No. 13 Belarus, No. 11 Russia, and No. 8 Serbia.
The other groups are the following:
- Group A: No. 25 Great Britain, No. 24 Latvia, No. 2 Spain, No. 38 Ukraine
- Group B: No. 12 Czech Republic, No. 4 France, No. 26 Montenegro, No. 41 Sweden
- Group C: No. 50 Hungary, No. 31 Italy, No. 63 Slovenia, No. 6 Turkey
At first glance, it looks like Belgium is not favored to do well in their group because of they are the lowest ranked team in Group D. However, all of Belgium’s 105 points came from their performances in EuroBasket Women 2017 when they won the bronze medal and the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup when they were fourth place. So if anything, Belgium has a great chance to advance to the quarterfinals or even medal again next summer.
Belgium’s group will be tougher than their draw in 2017 however. Russia is consistently one of Europe’s powers. Sparks center Maria Vadeeva is coming into her own and will be big force for them after a disappointing EuroBasket Women 2017 finish. The Belarusians made the 2016 Olympics and Serbia won bronze in the 2016 Olympics as well. And like Russia, Belarus and Serbia had early finishes in EuroBasket Women 2017 themselves. All three of these teams will definitely look to get back to their winning ways next year, even if it means putting a dent in Belgium’s meteoric rise in the world rankings.
EuroBasket Women 2019 is from June 27 to July 7 in Serbia and Latvia. The Mystics will play three games (vs. Sun on June 29, at Aces on July 5, at Sparks on July 7) during the tournament. However, most teams will practice together and play friendlies before the actual tournament, Belgium included. Therefore, it’s probable that Meesseman will miss considerably more time before the tournament ends.