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Olympic Recaps: Emma Meesseman put on a show in fourth quarter for Belgium

Belgium was able to come back and defeat No. 2 Australia, while China blew out Puerto Rico. Emma Meesseman of Belgium and Yueru Li of China were phenomenal.

Australia v Belgium Women’s Basketball - Olympics: Day 4
Emma Meesseman
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Down one entering the fourth quarter, Belgium erupted for 29 points in the final frame, including 14 of Emma Meesseman’s game-high 32, to win 85-70 over a very good Australia team on Tuesday in Tokyo.

Meesseman also had nine rebounds, five assists and four steals, while her Belgium teammate and fellow WNBA player Julie Allemand posted 16 points, 11 assists and two steals. Antonia Delaere added 17 points for the winners.

Australia, which is the No. 2 team in the world behind the United States, went up 59-56 one minute and two seconds into the fourth. However, Meesseman made a hook shot 26 seconds later and followed that by assisting a Delaere 3-pointer that gave Belgium (No. 6 in the world) a two-point lead. It led the rest of the way, slowly working its way up to a 15-point margin of victory.

Belgium forced 14 turnovers (nine steals) and committed just five. It led by four after one, but trailed by four at the break.

Seattle Storm center Ezi Magbegor led Australia with 20 points to go along with eight rebounds and two blocks. Katie Ebzery (11 points, nine rebounds, six assists) and Cayla George (12 points, 10 rebounds, four assists) were the other key contributors in defeat while New York Liberty guard Rebecca Allen added 10 points and three helpers. George played three years in the W (2015, 2017 and 2018).

Washington Mystics guard Leilani Mitchell dished out seven assists but was held to two points. The two other WNBA players on Australia’s roster, Stephanie Talbot and Alanna Smith, did not play.

Kim Mestdagh had a solid game for Belgium with eight points, six boards and three helpers. Mestdagh played 15 games for the 2019 WNBA champion Mystics.

Other action

China over Puerto Rico, 97-55

Yueru Li notched 21 points, 12 rebounds and five assists to lead China (No. 9 in the world), which also received 11 points and 14 boards from Xu Han. Zhenqi Pan (seven rebounds, two steals) and Meng Li (four assists) added 11 and 15 points, respectively.

10 different players recorded an assist for China, which assisted on 33 of its 35 field goals. Sijing Huang and Ting Shao led the way with seven and six helpers, respectively.

China dominated points in the paint (50-18) and bench points (34-6). It attempted 25 free throws compared to just 10 for Puerto Rico (No. 23 in the world) and outshot Puerto Rico 56 percent to 28 percent from the field. Though the teams were tied in offensive rebounds, China won the battle on the defensive glass 42-17.

This one was only close early. China led by just three (11-8) three minutes and 48 seconds in before closing the opening frame on a 21-9 run to lead 32-17. It then won the second by 12, holding Puerto Rico to just nine points. It won the third by five and the fourth by 10.

Pamela Rosado (14 points, four steals), Jennifer O’Neill (13 points, four rebounds) and Isalys Quiñones (10 points, five rebounds) all scored in double figures in defeat.