There was no stunt for the Belgian Cats against Olympic and world champions USA on the first day of the World Cup in Sydney, Australia. Even without the Las Vegas Aces (they arrive today) trio of WNBA champions (Kelsey Plum, Chelsea Gray and A’Ja Wilson), Team USA was too big for the Cats. The Cats will need to react with a win against Korea on Friday (5am Belgium time). In Group A, Puerto Rico also opened with a surprising 58-82 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina.
USA started the World Cup with only 9 players. Nine stars from the WNBA and Breanna Stewart, Kahlia Copper, Alyssa Thomas, Jewel Lloyd and Sabrina Ionescu are in the mix.
The Belgian Cats make a nervous start to their second World Cup at the Sydney Superdome. Brenna Stewart, Ariel Atkins and Jewell Lloyd, the United States immediately jumped out to a 12-0 lead after the Belgian loss. Julie Vanloo closed the gap with a three-pointer and an assist from Antonia Delaire: 14-7. An alert Julie Allemond bombed and the Cats were suddenly back in the game at 14-13. The USA continued a good shooting performance against Belgium’s zone defense and ran back to 24-15 and 32-22 after the first quarter thanks to a sublime Brenna Stewart. Emma Meesemann did not enjoy the match, but Maxuella Lisowa and Hind Ben Abdelkader formed the new alternate team. After the first points of Emma Meismann, the second Belgian Rimonde is a fact: 38-33. Billie Massey had a dunk, but the Belgians suffered several turnovers and the Americans took a 48-39 lead into the half.
The Gates won the second slide 16-17. The start of the second half was again missed due to bowling. Breanna Stewart scored, Alyssa Thomas dished out assists and the Americans outshot 60-41. Billie Massey, Hind Ben Abdelkader and Julie Vanloo scored, but the USA trailed 64-45 after the third quarter to take a 72-56 bonus.
Knee injury Kiara Linskens
The Americans were physically stronger and faster and were edged 76-56. With the score at 83-63, Kyara Linskens (knee injury) left the game after a tough rebound. The damage to the Belgian center is not too bad and hopefully he can compete against Korea. In the final stretch, national coach Valerie Demory gave extra rest to players such as Emma Meesemann, Julie Allemand, Hind Ben Abdelkader and Antonia Delare in important games on Friday (Korea) and Saturday (Puerto Rico). Julie Vanloo drags the Belgian “next general”. Maxuella Lisowa put in plenty of effort, Peggy Massey scored three points, but the U.S. didn’t let a deserved win escape after a late Belgian comeback. Two out of two is now essential for the Belgian Cats to reach the quarter-finals. In two groups of six, the top four qualified for a place in the last eight.
Quartz: 32-22, 16-17, 24-17, 15-16
Belgium: Allemand 10-0, Vanloo 6-7, Delray 6-2, Meesman 2-2, Linskens 5-4, Ramet 0-0, Resimont 0-3, Ben Abdelkader 3-3, Becky Massey 0-5, Lisova 4- 5 , Billy Massey 3-2, George 0-0