On Sunday, FIBA announced their All-Star Five of the 2020 Olympics women’s basketball tournament. Washington Mystics forward Emma Meesseman was named to the team after representing Belgium in their first-ever appearance. The Cats advanced to the quarterfinals.
In four total games, Meesseman averaged 26.8 points, 10.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 3.5 steals and 1.3 blocks per game, shooting 65.7 percent from the field. She scored over 20 points in each of her appearances and shot over 50 percent from the field in EVERY GAME. To rank Meesseman’s statistical accomplishments against everyone else, she was:
- The leading per-game scorer of the entire tournament AND the leader in points scored! — Meesseman scored 107 points in four games. That’s well above the 99 points Brittney Griner and A’ja Wilson had for Team USA in SIX games. They tied for second place in scoring,
- The overall leader in steals per game (3.5!) and second in total steals — The leader was Gabby Williams 17) for France.
- The second-leading per-game rebounder and the fourth in total rebounds — Meesseman has never been known as a rebounding stalwart, whether in the WNBA or in EuroLeague Women, so this is definitely notable. She was the fourth-leading rebounder (42) based on total figures after Team USA’s Breanna Stewart (60), Wilson (44), and Brittney Griner (43). Again, Team USA had SIX games for their stats. Belgium had four.
- The sixth-leading per-game assister (4.8) AND the leading per-game assister among all players who are not listed as a point guard — The women’s game has more point forwards than ever with Stewart and Williams also averaging over 4 assists per game. But again, Meesseman’s averages were just a bit better. The players ahead of Meesseman were Japan’s Rui Machida, Belgium’s Julie Allemand, Spain’s Cristina Ouvina, Team USA’s Sue Bird and Australia’s (and fellow Mystic) Leilani Mitchell).
- Ranked in the Top 10 in blocks per game (1.3) — Only three players, Korea’s Ji Su Park, Spain’s Astou Ndour and China’s Han Xu averaged at least 2 blocks per game.
When you look at the big picture, Meesseman ranked in the Top-10 on a per-game basis in the five major statistical categories. No other player in the entire tournament accomplished this. Stewart was the closest to match Meesseman, where she was in the Top-10 in four of these areas.
Given how dominant Meesseman was individually in the Olympics, you may be wondering if she was named the MVP. In my opinion, she should be, despite the fact that the Cats didn’t make the medal round due to a last-minute three by Japan, the silver medalists. It’s not like she averaged 26 points a game while shooting 30 percent from the field in three group stage losses.
But I don’t choose these awards and I’m not “objective.”
As you might expect, FIBA went the conventional route when deciding the MVP, picking a player on Team USA, the gold medalists. Stewart was named the Olympic tournament’s MVP and earned a spot on the All-Star Five after averaging 15 points, 10 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game.
The remaining players on the All-Star Five were Team USA’s A’ja Wilson, Japan’s Rui Machida and France’s Sandrine Gruda.
Congratulations Emma and to all for earning tournament honors!