Last year, the Belgian Cats caused a stunt at the Olympic Games by beating Australia, the current number 3 in the world. That it would be a lot more difficult in the quarterfinals on Thursday was within the line of expectations.
Australia is the host country of the World Cup and Belgium again missed star player Emma Meesseman, who had suffered a calf injury in the group stage. She was forced to support her team from the bench.
The lack of Meesseman was especially felt in the rebound. Without Meesseman’s height, Belgium was clearly centimeters short under the ring, allowing Australia to completely dominate the plates. The large difference in rebounds was telling: 23 for Belgium and no less than 48 for the Opals.
Because the Belgian Cats were also not quite right defensively, Australia was able to completely control the match before half time: 37-52. In the 2nd half, national coach Demory looked for solutions, but the home team always had an answer ready and steamed to a maximum lead of 24 points.
In the final quarter Australia celebrated the reins and the Belgian Cats were able to limit the damage somewhat: 69-86. Four years ago, the Belgian women reached the semi-finals on their World Cup debut. That was never really possible at this tournament, certainly not after Meesseman’s injury.
The next big goal for the Cats is the European Championship, which will be played next summer. The qualifications for that tournament will resume at the end of November, when Belgium plays for its own people against North Macedonia and Bosnia.
Belgium: Allemand 15, Ben Abdelkader 13, Linskens 13, Vanloo 12, Delaere 6, Becky Massey 5, Lisowa 3, Ramette 2. Ine Joris, Billie Massey and Laure Resimont did not score.