SAITAMA, Japan (AP) — Emma Meesseman scored 32 points and Belgium won its Olympic debut, beating Australia 85-70 on Tuesday in the opener for both teams.
Belgium trailed 59-58 early in the fourth quarter before going on a 12-2 run sparked by Meesseman, who had eight points and two assists during the game-changing spurt. She scored and then stole the inbounds pass and converted that for another basket that made it 67-61 with 6:19 left.
Australia couldn’t get closer than eight the rest of the game.
Belgium finished fourth at the 2018 World Championship — it’s first appearance in that tournament and has steadily been on the rise.
It was a tight game for the first few quarters with Belgium leading by four points after one and Australia taking a 41-37 lead at the half. The Opals led 47-46 heading into the final quarter before Belgium rallied.
Australia was missing Stephanie Talbot, who was on the bench but not in uniform.
Ezi Magbegor scored 20 to lead Australia.
Belgium faces Puerto Rico on Thursday and Australia plays China on Friday in Group C games.
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