Meesseman Happy With Underdog Status

25 February 2014
11. Emma Meesseman (Villeneuve DAscq)
Emma Meesseman always believed her team would come back from a disappointing EuroCup Women quarter final first leg clash against domestic rivals Basket Landes

Former FIBA Europe Young Women's Player of the Year winner, Emma Meesseman, is more than happy Villeneuve d'Ascq head into their EuroCup Women semi-final as underdogs.

The French side will match-up against defending champions WBC Dynamo Moscow in the last four and are feeling simply relieved to have dodged a major bullet against domestic rivals Basket Landes in the quarter-finals.

"After the first game against Landes, I was pretty disappointed," recalled Meesseman.

"I really wanted to go to the semi-finals and we didn't play like we always do and eight points was a lot to have catch-up with during the second leg. Nobody really expected us to win by 15 points except all of the players on our team.

"We like the role of being an underdog so we can play without pressure and play freely. This time, I think the pressure is with Dynamo, since they have to defend their title.

"So, we will also be the underdog in this game too, something which is good for our team."

She continued, "It is going to be a very difficult game, but we will fight and at the same time, enjoy playing the semi-finals. We still believe we have a chance!"

The ingredients for success are quietly bubbling away at Villeneuve and whilst silverware hasn't yet been delivered, they are fighting on four fronts. They don't only have EuroCup Women in their sights, but domestic titles too.

They have already reached the French Cup Final, will have the play-offs to aim for and are still in contention for the regular season title - even though they suffered a shock loss to Angers UF last weekend.

"This season is indeed proving a very good one for Villeneuve d'Ascq," declared Meesseman.

"We don't just depend on one or two so-called 'star players,' but it's a really good mix from all kinds of different players.

11. Emma Meesseman (Villeneuve DAscq)
Emma Meesseman extended her brand to North America last summer when she played for the Washington Mystics

"The most important thing is that we all get along and there is a good atmosphere. In my eyes, team-spirit is the most important thing and we definitely have that.

"The supporters even call us 'les guerrières,' which means 'warriors'!"

The 20-year-old Belgian is averaging 11.4 points and 6.5 rebounds in the competition and showing why she caused such a sensation last summer when she was given a chance to play in the WNBA with the Washington Mystics.

From a European perspective, Meesseman has been on the radar since 2008 when she made her youth debut for Belgium and it was no surprise when was snapped up by former four-time EuroLeague Women winners Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje.

Loaned out to Villeneuve, Meesseman is trying to get the right balance between her immediate priorities and taking a keen interest in her parent club.

"Yes, even though I don't really think too much about Sparta&K because I really want to focus on this season, I do follow them a bit,"she confirmed.

"I have already seen some live games on the internet and I am really happy for them that they are doing so well."

If Meesseman and Villeneuve do manage to progress, another trip to Russia could be in the offing, since Dynamo Kursk will square-up to Istanbul Universitesi in the other EuroCup Women semi-final.




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