The Belgian Cats lost 62-67 to their own people at the Lotto Arena on Wednesday, something no one from the European champions would have expected.
National coach Meziane said he did not recognize his Cats and they wanted to show their abilities today in Baku. Their statement was clear: from the first second to the last second there was complete concentration and they continued to apply “full pressure on the pitch”.
Also after 6-34 in the first quarter, or 10-63 in the first half, or 16-102 after the third quarter. The difference in the fourth quarter became more than 100 points. Thanks to fast play and aggressive defence, they demolished Azerbaijan.
Linskens was good to start and finished with 17 points. Emma Meeseman scored 15 points after the first quarter and 23 in the first half. She was the top scorer with 31 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists.
Coach Meziane gave everyone a lot of minutes. Only Julie Allemand survived and remained on the bench. The two young men, Eni Gores and Habibatou Bah, scored 11 and 12 points, respectively.
It was a historic day for Belgian women’s basketball. The difference of 108 points was their largest victory ever. The previous record dates back to 1995, when they beat Scotland 122-28 in the preliminary round of the European Championship.
After the brutal victory, Belgium topped the group by defeating Lithuania, which beat Azerbaijan last week by 37 points. However, later in the day, Lithuania won at Poland (73-75), leaving Lithuania with 2 wins to 1.
It was important for the Belgians to respond so they had a good feeling about the next task: the Olympic qualifying tournament in February. Major US and African teams Nigeria and Senegal will come to Sportpaleis.
Wasn’t there anything to notice today? The statistic is probably too low for three-point attempts: only 8 of 28 shots were made.
The next European Championship qualifying round matches are just one year away, with a home match against Lithuania and an away match against Poland in November 2024. Of the eight groups, the group winners and the 4 best runners-up have qualified for Euro 2025.
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