UPDATE on Feb 15 - Belgium beat Switzerland, 98-59 in Kortrijk on Valentine’s Day. Emma Meesseman scored 19 points on 9 of 11 shooting, grabbed 5 rebounds, and dished 7 assists, as she continued to do Emma Meesseman like things. She’s reminding me of a young Kevin Garnett or a modern day Draymond Green, minus their emotional intensity.
Belgium’s second place in Group G with a 3-1 record. It’s unlikely that Belgium is missing EuroBasket Women 2019 at this point unless they lose both of their next two matches (at Germany and home vs. Czech Republic. Also, Germany, who is third place, would have to blow out Belgium and their last match against Switzerland to win the point spread.
UPDATE on Feb 11 - Belgium lost 53-48 to the Czech Republic on Saturday in Prague, which is Satoransky’s hometown. The Czechs are now leading Group G with a 3-0 record which I’m sure was motivation for Tomas Satoransky’s career high performance last night.
Alena Hanusova of USK Praha led the Czechs with 16 points and 7 rebounds. But the Czechs as a whole shote just 39.3 percent in what was a gritty win. The key to the Czechs’ win was holding the Belgians to just 28.6 percent shooting. That said Meesseman shot 8 of 17 from the field for 23 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
In short, I’m happy to see that Meesseman had another strong game, this time against a European power. But besides her and Kim Mestagh who scored just 10 points, the rest of the team quite honestly played like crap.
Belgium’s still favored to get in EuroBasket Women 2019 given that the Germans and Swiss don’t have the talent that the Belgians have at the top of their rosters and the Czechs do in the aggregate. When they punch their tickets, Meesseman could miss half of the 2019 season as well.
The original post is below.
Though Emma Meesseman will miss the 2018 WNBA season to be with the Belgium women’s national basketball team, that doesn’t mean that we’ll stop writing about her when something important comes up. That’s because the Belgium national team will play a major defining role as to how much of a WNBA season she could play in future years.
Who will Belgium play?
- at Czech Republic on Saturday, Feb. 10 at Kralovka Arena in Prague. Gametime is at 12 p.m. ET. or 6 p.m. Central European Time in cities like Prague and Brussels. (Stream it here)
- vs. Switzerland on Wednesday, Feb. 14 at Sportcampus Lange Munte in Kortrijk, West Flanders. Gametime is at 2:30 p.m. ET. (This is the official preview page where you can stream it as we get closer)
Any familiar faces for the Czech Republic or Switzerland?
Tomas Satoransky is thrilled to see that long-time Mystics center Kia Vaughn (2013-2016) is now rep’ing the Czech Republic. Vaughn has played for the same club Satoransky did for several years (USK Praha) and was even the EuroLeague Women MVP back in 2015 when they won the whole thing.
However, it’s unclear if Vaughn will play for the Czech Republic tomorrow, according to Het Nieuwsblad (link in Dutch). If Vaughn plays, her physical play will give the Belgians fits. If not, this team is still a traditional women’s basketball power that has more talent than most other European teams.
Switzerland, the second team Belgium’s playing is not a strong team by any stretch. Last November, the Belgians ran over them. I expect another shellacking in Kortrijk on Valentine’s Day.
What’s at stake?
FIBA’s narrative is that the next two games could determine whether the Belgians or Czechs will punch their tickets to EuroBasket Women 2019. That’s true and all, but I wouldn’t bother posting this if the Mystics weren’t involved.
Both Belgium and the Czech Republic are undefeated in group play so far. This game and a future game in Kortrijk this fall will probably determine the winner of this group.
If Belgium wins both of these games, they may clinch a spot in EuroBasket Women 2019 with two games left to go. If that happens, Meesseman will probably miss the start of the 2019 season as well. If they lose both games including to Switzerland at home, then there’s an outside chance Belgium may end up missing this tournament, even if they’re World Cup bound this fall.
Who should we root for?
I find the Belgian team fun to follow in a vacuum. They’re not a traditional power, but have the talent to do big things after their strong performance in EuroBasket Women last year.
That said, I’m conflicted. I can’t root for Belgium in good faith because their resurgence hurts the Mystics. I’m open about why. Still, I love watching Emma Meesseman play in a franchise player’s role with the Belgian team, something that she just doesn’t do on the Mystics or UMMC Ekaterinburg in Russia regularly.
Tomas Satoransky will root for Kia and the Czechs, just because. So, if you want to root for the Czechs, I don’t blame you. But again, I’m conflicted when goals start running counter to each other.
How do we say “Let’s Go!” in the Belgians’ and Czechs’ respective languages?
If you’re rooting for the Belgians, it depends on what language you speak — Dutch or French. Almost everyone on the team is Dutch speaking, so “Komaan Belgian Cats!” is the most appropriate.
That said, if you’re from the heart of the Netherlands like Amsterdam and Rotterdam or if you learned Dutch from people living in those cities, you may know that “Kom op” is “Come on.” That’s how Dutch people in those cities say “come on,” but it’s not what Belgians say. It’s like me calling a Coca-Cola a soda while a Midwesterner calls it a pop.
If you’re a Walloon, Brusselaar, Congolese, Parisian/Parisienne, Quebecois, or otherwise know French better, then “Allez Belgian Cats!” is the way to go. Regardless of whether the Belgians speak in Nederlands or Français, they call the team The Belgian Cats. They are not called “De Belgische Katten” of/ou “Les Chats Belges” in le neérlandais and het Frans, respectively.
Finally, we have plenty of Czech readers thanks to Tomas Satoransky’s presence. He’d say, “Nandej jim to, České republika!” or “Give it to them, Czech Republic!”