Belgian Cats lose to USA despite world-class performance

Belgium's women's basketball team lost their first game of the Olympic qualifying tournament on Thursday night. In front of a sold-out Sportpaleis in Antwerp, the Belgian Cats put on a world-class performance. But thanks to a late comeback, the USA still won the game.

The Belgians dominated the first half and went into the second quarter with a nine-point lead. But there is a reason why the USA have won four World Cups in a row: after a draw in the third quarter, the Americans quickly took the lead in the final 15 minutes, erasing the European champions' advantage.

It looked as if the teams were heading for overtime, but USA's Breanna Stewart decided the game in the dying seconds of the match, securing a 81-79 victory. A bitter pill to swallow for the Belgians, who outplayed the world champions for most of the night.

Senegal up next

The loss does not affect Belgium's chances of booking a ticket to the Paris Olympics. As world champions, the USA have already qualified, meaning that two of the three teams in Belgium's group will be able to go to Paris.

Belgium must beat either Nigeria or Senegal to secure their place at this summer's Olympic Games. The two nations played their first match today, with Nigeria, the current African champions, emerging victorious.

The Cats face Senegal on Friday at 20.45 and Nigeria on Sunday at 16.45 at the Sportpaleis.



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