The Belgian Cats played their first match as European champions in front of an almost full Lotto Arena in Antwerp. Before the match against Poland, the European Championship trophy was allowed to shine for a while in the center circle, but unfortunately that was also the last European Championship touch of the evening.
Because an unrecognizable Belgium never reached the level against Poland with which it was crowned European champion last summer, although that was also the merit of the opponent.
The tough Poles initially kept Emma Meesseman out of the game and made life difficult for the Cats with aggressive and fast basketball.
To everyone’s surprise, an efficient Poland led by 12 points at half-time, helped by the Cats’ dramatic finishing percentage: just 27 percent in the 1st half.
After the break there was only occasional improvement. National coach Meziane mainly relied on his starting five, but he was never able to completely close the gap, no matter what Delaere and Meesseman tried.
A mature Poland held firm and immediately handed the European champion a defeat. If there was still any European Championship euphoria, the Cats would immediately have their feet back on the ground.
We will have to get back on track quickly, because the Belgian women will have to compete again in the European Championship preliminary round on Sunday. Then the Cats play in and against Azerbaijan. On paper it was a feasible option, but that was also what the Poles thought.
Belgium: Meesseman 16, Linskens 15, Delaere 12, Vanloo 10, Allemand 6, Becky Massey 3.