For most of the WNBA players competing in EuroBasket Women 2017, the dream of leading their team to the championship has come to an end. However, Washington’s Emma Meesseman and Atlanta’s Sancho Lyttle have guided their respective nations to the quarterfinals and are performing like two of the tournament’s very best players.
The quarterfinals of EuroBasket will be played Thursday in the Czech Republic. If Meesseman (Belgium) and Lyttle (Spain) both lead their teams to victory, they will meet in Saturday’s semifinal game.
For Belgium, a win on Thursday against Italy would secure its best-ever finish in EuroBasket. Led by Meesseman, Belgium went 3-0 in group play – albeit winning by four points or less each game – to secure a spot in the quarterfinals. Meesseman ranks second in the tournament with 19 points per game and leads Belgium in rebounding (7.3 per game).
Lyttle isn’t far behind Meesseman, posting 16.7 points per game heading into Spain’s quarterfinal game against Latvia. Her squad went 2-1 in group play, edging Ukraine in a tiebreaker for the automatic quarterfinal berth. Spain is the nation the USA defeated in last summer’s gold medal game at the Olympics.
Here is how the rest of the WNBA stars fared in EuroBasket:
Courtney Vandersloot (Hungary): The Sky guard led her team to the knockout round with a 1-2 record in group play. However, Hungary fell to Italy in heartbreaking fashion, losing 49-48 on Tuesday. Vandersloot averaged 9.3 points and a team-high 3.8 assists per game.
Alex Bentley (Belarus): Although Bentley had a stellar tournament individually, Belarus finished winless in group play and didn’t qualify for the knockout round. Bentley led her team in both points (14 per game) and assists (4.3).
Epiphanny Prince (Russia): Like Vandersloot, Prince’s team fell in the opening game of the knockout round on Tuesday. Russia went 2-1 in group play, with its only loss coming in overtime to Meesseman and Belgium. Prince will return to the Liberty after averaging 13 points and five assists in EuroBasket.
Kia Vaughn (Czech Republic): Representing the host nation, Vaughn wasn’t able to lead her team past the group stage. The Czech Republic lost a tiebreaker after finishing 1-2 in group play. Nonetheless, Vaughn made her presence felt in the paint by scoring a team-high 16 points per contest.