The Belgian Cats were unable to win their first game at the European Basketball Championship. The Belgian ladies were able to compete with opponent Bosnia for a while, but were not in the lead for a moment and went down completely in the final phase. The Bosnians eventually won 70-55, which immediately puts pressure on the Cats for the next group match against Slovenia.
The Belgian Cats opened the first quarter dramatically. The shots didn’t fall and defensively they were immediately caught in speed. Milica Deura and Jonquel Jones led Bosnia to a 10-2 lead after the study round (5-2). After seven minutes, only Emma Meesseman had scored twice: 12-4. Coach Philip Mestdagh first tried with substitutions but had to take a time-out after seven minutes.
After all, things didn’t go well with the Cats. The shot selection was appalling and despite a drive and score from Julie Allemand, the Belgian women kept running behind. Kim Mestdagh managed a bomb, but after the first quarter, the Cats faced a 19-11 deficit.
Also in the second quarter, the Belgian Cats were initially too nervous. Emma Meesseman was not supported offensively and thanks to Nikolina Babic and star player Jonquel Jones it went to 25-13. Defensively, the Belgians did switch. Kim Mestdagh managed to steals, the Bosnians suffered ball losses (11 in the first half) and Emma Meesseman took care of 27-24 after a 2-8 intermediate sprint. Serena-Lynn Geldof made a useful substitution at 29-28, the connection was a fact. Bosnia went into the break with a 30-28 bonus, but the Belgian Cats were back in the game despite a 12 on 40 shot selection (including 1 on 14 three-pointers).
Emma Meesseman continued to score in the third slide, Antonia Delaere managed her first points, but after 36-36 the Bosnians took away again with two bombs from Melica Deura and Nikoline Babic: 44-38. Jonquel Jones conceded a technical foul and the Belgians reconnected at 45-44. However, Bosnia remained cool and withdrew the last slide with a score of 51-47.
In the too warm Rhenus Sport Arena it became a physical battle and both teams gasped. Billie Massey finally disappeared from the match with five errors and Emma Meesseman and Antonia Delaere made it 53-51 after a fast-break. Kim Mestdagh equalized after a steal (53-53), but again the Bosnians reacted with three-pointers. After three consecutive bombs, the Cats faced a 62-53 deficit and were hanging in the ropes. In the final phase, the Cats were unable to make a fist and the Bosnians realized a deserved victory. The Belgian Cats scored 24 out of 71 shots, of which only 3 out of 28 three-pointers!
Bosnia: Deura 10, Dzombeta 0, Babic 23, Domuzin 0, Gejic 8, Brcaninovic 0, Dzabo 0, Vrancic 0, Tavic 7, Delic 9, Jones 13
Belgium: Kim Mestdagh 10, Delaere 4, Meesseman 24, Linskens 0, Hanne Mestdagh 0, Geldof 2, Nauwelaers 0, Billie Massey 0, Vanloo 2, Allemand 13
Quartz: 19-11, 11-17, 21-19, 19-8
Slovenia beats Turkey by 25 points
In the second match in Group C at the European Basketball Championship for women’s teams, Slovenia easily beat a rejuvenated Turkey in Strasbourg on Thursday, which had to do without strong holders Ayse Cora (retired) and Isil Alben (knee ligaments). The match ended 72-47 (half time: 36-27). Slovenia will take on the Belgian Cats on Friday (3 pm).