World Championships are over for the Belgian Cats

The women's national basketball team, the Belgian Cats, has been ousted by hosts Australia at the World Championships. The Cats missed star player Emma Meesseman and lost it 86-67. Their next goal will be the European Championships, for which the qualifying matches resume at the end of November. 

The Cats had stunned Australia, the world's number 3, at last year's Olympic Games and were eager to repeat this feat. However, without Emma Meesseman, they missed their captain and top rebounder under the boards. This was reflected in the number of rebounds: 23 for Belgium compared to 48 for Australia. 

The hosts won the first quarter 26-16 and steamrolled through in the second, 26-21, trailing 37-52 half-time. The Belgian coach Valéry Demory tried out different options in the second half as the Belgian defence was not up to standards, but the Cats could not turn the tables. 

At one stage, Australia had a 24-point gap. In the final quarter, the hosts eased the pressure allowing the Cats to reduce the gap a little bit. 

While they surprised with a semi-final berth at their World Cup debut four years ago, the Cats stranded in the last 8 this time. Antonia Delaere said that "it's a pity we couldn't play our best basketball. (...) However we learned that we should maybe aim for the final at the next European Championships." 

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