Belgium will line up at the FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2021 after they clinched their third consecutive Final Round ticket on Gameday 4 of the Qualifiers.
The unbeaten Cats took a convincing 85-67 win against Ukraine as rising star Billie Massey showed her potential with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Her frontcourt partner Jana Raman added 14 points and 14 boards, while Julie Allemand top scored with 18 points from the backcourt to fend off a Ukraine side fueled by a spectacular 32 points from Alina Iagupova.
However, to formally seal their spot, Philip Mestdagh and his players had to wait anxiously to see if Finland could beat Portugal. The Scandinavian team duly delivered with a late night 70-62 win as Elina Koskimies impressed with 21 points.
There was high drama elsewhere and not least in Istanbul. Anticipated as the game to watch in this second window, the contest between Serbia and Turkey lived up to its billing in a fantastic advert for the competition.
Serbia eventually got the job done 83-76 in double overtime to stay flawless in Group E, while moving to the edge of a place at the Final Round.
Yvonne Anderson was a difference-maker with 25 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists, Sonja Vasic was influential with 18 points and Aleksandra Crvendakic garnered 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Meanwhile in Sarajevo, Russia reacted to being under some serious pressure against Bosnia and Herzegovina in Group C to dig out a priceless 72-68 victory.
Having lost the first meeting and down by nine points, a momentum-shifting triple by Anastasiia Shilova on the halftime buzzer proved vital – as did the return of Raisa Musina, who netted 25 points.
In the same group, Switzerland completed a double over Estonia with a nail-biting 63-60 success. They had to come back from a double-digit deficit and eventually rode out winners thanks mainly to 20 points from Charlotte Kohler.
Completing the double against their rivals, they saw off late foul trouble and had Shante Evans to thank after she registered 22 points and 9 rebounds.
Bulgaria locked down Iceland 74-53 to stay in the race, as Borislava Hristova returned an exceptional 25 points to lead her team to victory. Jaklin Dencheva Zlatanova also impressed with 12 points and 15 boards.
Group B leaders Sweden are on the cusp of making it to the Final Round again after making it three wins in a row. They raced past Israel 90-51 as Frida Eldebrink caught fire and netted a super 28 points to pace the victory.
Poland are still searching for their first victory in Group F after they were comprehensively shot down 77-49 by Great Britain. The Brits were particularly reliant on Chantelle Handy who hit five triples on her way to a game-high 19 points.
Netherlands took a crucial 68-63 win against Hungary in what is proving to be a fascinating battle in Group H. Hungary were punished for trailing by as many as 20 points in a horror show opening.
While they almost pulled off a rescue mission, their opponents saw the game out, with Laura Westerik and Emese Hoff recording double-doubles. The former had 12 points and 10 rebounds, with Hof weighing in with 13 points and 12 boards.
In Group I, Latvia bounced back from their loss to Germany to improve their prospects as they inflicted a first loss of the campaign on Croatia.
Leading by 27 points in the first-half, they had to fend off a Croatian fight back to ease their way to an 83-69 success. Elina Babkina starred with 20 points in the backcourt, while Anete Steinberga was dominant inside with 19 points and 6 rebounds.
Finally, Germany were made to sweat by North Macedonia and despite trailing at the interval, they turned things around to deliver a 74-59 victory – their second win of the current window.
Leonie Fiebich and Laura Hebecker combined for 40 points, while Marie Guelich accumulated a double-double of 11 points and 17 rebounds.