An explosion of joy: the Belgian Cats have reached the last four!
Philippe Crochet

Belgians Cats oust Russia, reach semi-finals at European Championships

In basketball, the Belgian national women's team has made it to the last four at the European Championships. The Belgian Cats beat Russia in a tense match, holding on to a slim advantage in the final seconds: 85-83. 

The Belgian Cats had to be at their best to beat a big basketball nation like Russia. In the final minute, it was 83-83 when Julie Allemand scored a vital one: 85-83. The Russians asked for a time-out with just over 5 seconds to go, but this was of no avail as the Cats stood strong. They will now meet Serbia in the semi-finals and aim for a medal. 

Emma Meesseman had 33 points in her 100th game for the Cats, adding 11 rebounds, some assists and a couple of steals. "Nice to get this in my 100th international game. (...) It doesn't matter who steers the team to success. I am just glad we won. It was very intense, but I am so proud of my team."

Kim Mestdagh, the daughter of national coach Philip Mestdagh, found back her best form and dropped many "bombs" as a specialist of the 3-pointers. This was necessary as the Russian ladies also had a lot of these 3-pointers going in. Mestdagh eventually had 19 points: "I think we all made a step forward. Kyara Linskens was there at crucial moments, Julie Allemand was there too when she had to." 

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