On Tuesday evening, Washington Mystics General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault announced that Emma Meesseman will skip the 2021 WNBA season due to overload. The announcement was made before Washington’s game against the Los Angeles Sparks, which they won, 78-68.
Meesseman played for the Mystics from 2013-20 where she first came to the team as a 19-year old Belgian from French team ESB Villeneuve-d’Ascq with a second round pick. She got accustomed to the WNBA game pretty quickly, ultimately becoming a starter in her second season and a WNBA All-Star in 2015. In fact, from 2013-16, she didn’t miss a single game.
In 2019, when the Mystics won the WNBA championship, she was also the Finals MVP. She has career averages of 11.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
While the Mystics have improved with Meesseman over the years, her national team has also improved, and that has affected her availability to play in the WNBA. Since 2017, the Belgium women’s national basketball team won two Women’s EuroBasket bronze medals (2017 and 2021), a semifinals appearance in the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup and a quarterfinals appearance in the 2020 Olympics. Belgium has never participated in a World Cup or Olympics before Meesseman joined the team.
Meesseman released a statement which is below:
The whole summer I thought and believed I would join the Mystics again after the European Championship and the Olympics, but it turns out the only right decision is to take some extra time for myself. I wish it was different because everybody knows I love the Mystics family. D.C. will continue to be my home away from home! I wish the team all the best and I’ll be rooting for them, like I always have.
In addition, General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault said the following.
While we had hoped for Emma’s return for the last part of the season, we know this has been a long summer with her National Team and understand her decision. We hope she can enjoy the much-deserved time off and we look forward to possibly seeing her in a Mystics uniform next season. Emma will always be a part of the Mystics family.
The news of Meesseman skipping this season isn’t surprising. This year, Belgium had to play in Women’s EuroBasket and the Olympics in the span of a couple months. In addition, the Mystics have built up their frontcourt depth so they wouldn’t be hurt too much for this kind of scenario. That said, while the news hurts, it’s understandable.
Thanks for rep’ing the DMV, Emma! And we wish you the best with the Belgian Cats and UMMC Ekaterinburg!