Sizzling Belgian Cats qualify for European Championships

In basketball, the Belgian national women's team has qualified for the European Championships after beating the Ukraine last night. A defeat of challengers Portugal later in the evening gave them complete certainty. 

The national team - dubbed the Belgian Cats - played an excellent game against the Ukraine. A strong start allowed them to lead 29-17 after the first quarter. Though the second and third quarter were more balanced, the Cats always remained in control. A strong last quarter (30-18) eventually resulted in a 87-65 win. 

The Cats had done their job, and when Portugal lost to Finland later in the evening, the win guaranteed them a ticket for the European Championships - even though the qualifying campaign isn't finished yet, with two more games to go. The championships will take place in France and Spain in June next year - unless coronavirus would decide otherwise. 

The Cats put on a strong performance despite the absence of star player and WNBA star Emma Meesseman, to the delight of national team coach Philip Mestdagh (who is also the father of Belgian Cat Kim Mestdagh): "It shows this team is more than our star players."  

Julie Allemand, who steered the team to victory, had 18 points. Billie Massey had 15 points, Jana Raman 14 and Kim Mestdagh 11. 

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