The Belgian Cats lost their first game at the Women’s Basketball World Cup in Sydney, Australia. It was 87-72 against the top-seeded USA, 48-39 at the half.
Certainly in the first period, the Cats came out well against the defending world champion and Olympic champion, but the Belgians had to let their opponents slip in the second half. Julie Allemond finished with 10 points (4 assists), Emma Meisman with 4 points, 4 assists and 4 rebounds. On the American side, Breanna Stewart, the top player in the world, was outstanding with 22 points. In another Group A game, Puerto Rico surprised Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The latter country was the biggest surprise at the recent European Championships. The second group game against South Korea takes place on Friday (5am Belgium time). The Cats then play in the group stage against Puerto Rico on Sunday (12:30 p.m.), Bosnia on Tuesday (3:30 a.m.) and China on Wednesday (5:30 a.m.). Cats are in one group, except for the inaccessible United States, South Korea, Puerto Rico, Bosnia and China. The top 4 teams in the group will advance to the quarterfinals. The goal is to reach at least the second round.
Belgium women finished fourth at the first World Cup four years ago. The USA eliminated Belgium in the semi-finals with consecutive wins. At that time, Emma Meismann and partner were a complete outsider. Expectations for this World Cup are high.
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