The Belgian Cats are in a European Championship final for the first time. Against France, the end became a true nail-biter, but the Belgian team – under the impetus of an unstoppable Emma Meesseman – held its own. Tomorrow evening the Cats will make a shot at the European title against Spain.
Very strong first half from the Cats
Before the European Championships, the Belgian Cats had announced that they were tired of bronze medals and so the goal was to reach the final. The final hurdle before that milestone promised to be the most difficult test yet, with a strong France as the challenger.
The French started the match with a knife between their teeth and tried to unbalance Belgium with some serious mistakes. They did this with the permission of a weak trio of referees, who did not exactly act at European Championship level.
But the French plan did not work in an impressive 1st half of the Belgian Cats, who imposed their will on the opponent. Emma Meesseman took her team in tow and received a lot of help from Julie Vanloo, who bombarded France with three-pointers from all corners of the field.
France fights back, but Cats have the last word
At halftime the difference was 14 points in favor of Belgium, but you are never done with the French. The vice-European champion stepped it up a notch after the break and aggressively caught the Cats high in the field.
The Belgian scoring machine came to a standstill and little came from the bench, with the exception of a particularly hard-working Mununga. Moreover, the French shots that did not fall before the break did go in now.
The faith of our southern neighbors grew visibly, in direct proportion to the nervousness of the Cats. They suffered too much loss of possession after the break, but were able to hold their own thanks to the experience of director Allemand and the world class of Emma Meesseman.
In a nerve-wracking end, it was Allemand who finally counted the French out with 2 striking free throws in the very last second.
On Sunday evening, the Belgian Cats play for gold against basketball superpower Spain. At 8 p.m., the Belgian ladies have an appointment with history.
Belgium: Meesseman 24, Vanloo 18, Allemand 10, Linskens 7, Delaere 3, Lisowa 2, Mununga 2, Résimont 1.
Belgian Cats on EK basketball
|group B results|
|group B final standings|
Belgium plays its group matches in Tel Aviv, Israel. The winners of the 4 groups go directly to the quarter finals, the numbers 2 and 3 play jump-offs.