by Paul Nilsen
Buoyed by their impressive performance over Finland, Belgium collected their second win of the group stages and condemned Belarus to the classification round in the process.
The 81-53 victory was made possible mainly via another immense performance from Emma Meesseman who is growing in strength and emerging as one of the premier interior players in the tournament.
The center harvested an early double-double before the midway point of the game and finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds but quickly handed the plaudits to her team-mates.
"Getting the double-double before half time was good but it is the team that played very well."
"I know it will get more difficult for me inside in this tournament because we have already had a tough tournament before this one. I am ready for this challenge and so is the team."
"We will have to be careful with all of the teams in the qualifying round."
"This win was for our team-mate Antonia Delaere who celebrates her Birthday today."
Powerhouse Emma Meesseman was almost on her way to a double-double after just five minutes of the game when she had already collected 9 points and 7 rebounds. This terrific start and work inside also important in helping to contain the usually prolific Belarus forward Maryna Ivashchanka.
While Meesseman achieved her double-double before half-time, Belgium allowed Belarus back into the game. Leading 31-17 and coasting, Belarus found some form with a 13-3 run to end the half, helped by Natalia Baklaha and Darya Lipinskaya finding some range from beyond the three-point line.
Not surprisingly Belgium came out strongly at the start of the second half having been rocked by the comeback of Belarus and they quickly re-established a double digit lead at 49-38.
That was mainly due to Coach Goethals referring back to his main players and both Vanloo and Delvaux delivered alongside Meesseman to restore control. That gave the rest of the Belgium team more confidence again and they moved the ball well and by the end of the third, the margin was 20 points at 61-41.
Belgium continued to blow their opponent away in the remainder of the game and left Belarus coach Viktar Bialevich with plenty to ponder as he prepares his team for the classification round and a fight to retain their Division A status - something that wont be easy after three heavy losses so far.
For Belgium, they continue to grow into the competition and left the court singing ‘Happy Birthday' to Delaere who also celebrated by scoring 6 points in fifteen minutes off the bench.