The national team, dubbed the Belgian Cats, made it into the quarter-finals at their Olympic debut where they had to take on hosts Japan. Pundits predicted it would become a close game, with a 50 percent chance for each team to advance, and this turned out to be correct.
Japan took the first quarter (19-16) but the Belgians Cats came bck in the second quarter (26-22) to lead with just one point at half-time 42-41.
Belgium had to make sure the Japanese women didn not score too many three-pointers (their specialty) and counted on star player Emma Meesseman, playmaker Julie Allemand and three-point specialist Kim Mestdagh. Things were looking bright for Belgium in the third quarter, when they built a gap of 10 points and more. They had the momentum, taking the third quarter 26-20.
Japan never gave up though and came almost level in the dying minutes of the game. Belgium held a slim advantage of 2 points, when Japan used their ultimate weapon: a 'bomb' from behind the three-point line put them one point ahead. With some 15 seconds to go, Belgium had one last attack, but Kim Mestdagh's ball jumped out of the ring just before the buzzer: 86-85 for Japan, an immense disappointment for the Cats and immense joy among the Japanese.