Belgium’s FIBA Women’s World Cup campaign started with a loss to three-time defending champions the United States.
The Belgians put up a good fight but were unable to walk away with an upset win. The Inner Sanctum has looked at three takeaways from Belgium’s first game of the World Cup.
The Julie combination
Even in a loss there are always positive takeaways to come from the game.
In this instance it was the back-court combination of Julie Allemand and Julie Vanloo. Allemand was able to charge through the United States defence, then providing her teammates with shots from behind the line. Vanloo was consistently able to execute her shots when she took them.
In defence, they could be seen putting pressure on the opposing guards. However their combination wasn’t enough to lead them to victory.
Allemand ended the game with 10 points, four assists and two steals. Her stats don’t give an accurate representation on how well she played. If her teammates were able to nail their shots, she would have at least six more assists to her name.
Vanloo was decisive in both offence and defence. At the close of the game she had 13 points and four assists. However, she let down the team, gifting the United States with six turnovers. In attack she had a 44 per cent field goal percentage with only one shot being a two pointer.
The star of of the 2021 EuroBasket was unable to get her hands on the ball during the game. Playing against her Chicago Sky and All-Star teammates, it seemed like she wasn’t going to have the best day on the court.
Meesseman only had four points during the game, well below her average. With the pressure on her to perform she shot 33 per cent from the field, an unusual feat for the Belgian superstar.
Playing Korea tomorrow, she will be hoping to use her size advantage against the shorter defenders.
“It’s very different for Emma here because she just spent three months in the US and she knows the players so it’s hard to get to play against them,” coach Valéry Demory said
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Turnover, turnover, turnover
The Belgian Cats struggled in attack from their first possession with the ball. The next two were no better, as they were unable to get a shot off.
This was a common feature throughout all four quarters as the national team ended the game with 25 turnovers, with 14 of them coming in the opening half.
Whether it was the players inexperience or them enduring pressure, they are looking to play better tomorrow against Korea. The Belgian coach believes they need to be ready for the defensive pressure that the United States put on them.
“I would say the problem is the defensive intensity of Team USA. [They had] a lot of pressure that caused a lot of lost balls, but also a few stupid turnovers,” Demory said after the game.
“The girls [mostly] play in the Belgian League, which is not used to this defensive pressure, and six girls need experience. They have no experience in major tournaments so they need to get used to this.”
Belgium will be out in force as it plays Korea on Friday afternoon at 1:00pm at the Quaycentre.
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