Unbeatable and unapproachable: this is the status that Team USA has enjoyed for several years. A defeat to the defending champion was already calculated in advance, but there was still a glimmer of hope ahead as there were still 3 players from Las Vegas missing after the WNBA final.
But it soon became apparent on the pitch that the US was too big a bounty for the Belgian Cats at nine. Under the impulse of Jewell Loyd and the top scorer Breanna Stewart (22 points), America started like a whirlwind: 11-0.
There may also be the response from Belgium. Emma Meesseman may have been in the American defense pincers all game, but Vanloo – the Belgian top scorer – and Allemand got the Cats back on the US track in no time.
The remonte was promising, but was soon nipped in the bud, in part due to a load of Belgian balls lost, 25 in total. Those many turnovers ensured that America could constantly keep the Cats at a safe distance.
Halfway through the 2nd half it became clear that a stunt was no longer possible and Belgium switched to save mode. The base players were more rested than usual and a sharp Lisowa took the opportunity to show himself with an enthusiastic defense and also some good goals.
In the end there was still a moment of panic when Linskens had to pass sideways after a duel with a sore knee. We hope that this will remain without consequences for Belgium, as the Cats will still need Linskens’ inches for the rest of the tournament.
Final score: 87-72, tomorrow morning at 5 am Belgian time is serious against South Korea. Then you really have to win to realize the ambitions, at least a place in the quarter-finals.
Belgium: Vanloo 13, Allemand 10, Linskens 9, Lisowa 9, Delaere 8, Ben Abdelkader 6, Becky Massey 5, Billie Massey 5, Meesseman 4, Resimont 3, Joris 0, Ramette 0