EUROBASKET WOMEN QUALIFIERS
|Marjorie Carpréaux got her only taste of EuroBasket Women in 2007, as a 19-year-old, and is very eager to repeat that experience|
By Paul Nilsen
Possessing an intriguing roster packed with dynamic and rising talent, it's not surprising Marjorie Carpréaux can't wait for the summer to begin as Belgium embark on their mission to land a coveted place at EuroBasket Women 2013.
While they will be without a couple of their big hitters, Carpréaux remains confident of success, despite having had to stomach the rather bitter taste of failure last time.
"I think we missed qualification for EuroBasket Women in Poland last summer because at this level, every team can beat each other and sometimes it's just the details that make the difference," claimed Carpréaux.
"It was hard because we had a big team with Ann Wauters and Kathy Wambe but we simply missed out!"
This time around, Belgium won't be able to call upon the vast skills of the experienced duo and that could make life more difficult.
The return of Anke De Mondt though will offset the negative effect to some degree.
So too will the continued development and rapid rise to prominence at senior level of FIBA Europe Young Women's Player Of The Year Emma Meesseman and these factors give two big reasons to be confident.
"Yes, we've lost Ann but she is going to be playing in the WNBA so good for her," explained Carpréaux.
"We also lost Kathy Wambe too and she is a great player. But for sure, Anke De Mondt has good experience and is a wonderful player so it's nice that she is back and it will be a real pleasure to play with her again.
"As for Emma, she is truly the sweetest person ever. She really is the best and she has the potential and talent level to be an important and key player for Belgium."
A SEASONED VETERAN AT 24
Carpréaux is barely past the landmark of having exeperienced a full Olympic cycle during her career at senior level and yet already she is bordering on being a leader in the team - something which she does find a little amusing.
"Yeah, I've become a veteran and yet I am only 24 years old," laughed the playmaker.
"It's a little crazy although I still feel young so I guess it's okay.
|Kathy Wambe (pictured) and Ann Wauters will not suit up for the national team this summer, but Belgium can count with De Mondt and a host of talented young players |
"However it's sometimes hard to try and show the best way for younger players when you are only starting to show the experience yourself!
"But, it's definitely a pleasure and I love to have the responsibility.
"After all, basketball in Belgium is progressing day by day and we have so many amazing young players."
While she is not exactly blessed with the kind of rich variation of insights most elite level veterans can share with their younger team-mates, Carpréaux can at least explain what it feels like to play at a EuroBasket Women Finals as a teenager - something that could whet the appetite of Belgium's young-guns.
"It was an amazing experience to play in Chieti in 2007 because I was so young and thanks to head coach Laurent Buffard I was lucky enough to get into the team," she recalls.
"For sure I worked hard to be in the team and to get to play with Wauters, Wambe and De Mondt just helped me so much and made me stronger.
"Off the court, we were a real team and we enjoyed every day the hotel next to the beach so it was amazing in every sense.
"Meanwhile I formed a true friendship with Kathy Wambe and we are still really great friends now."
"My experience really makes me want to get to another big EuroBasket Women tournament!"
In order to realise her wishes, Belgium must grab one of the top two spots in a very tricky-looking Group.
"Both Lithuania and the Slovak Republic are teams with experience and are good shooting teams. Netherlands is always hard because they are young and very physical. Slovenia I don't know too much about yet, but for sure all teams have the chance to win and progress," is her assessment.
"For me it's just a case of - come on Belgium!
"We probably have the youngest team but we have shooters, defensive players and complete players. However, we must turn this huge potential into a reality and deliver success and plenty of good moments.
"I really think that we have more potential than any other team although the only way for us to be in France next year is to work hard work and to stay together as a group."