Emma Meesseman

Emma Meesseman (born May 13, 1993) is a Belgian professional basketball player for UMMC Ekaterinburg. After playing basketball in Belgium, Meesseman was drafted by the Mystics with the 19th overall pick in the second round of the 2013 WNBA draft. She was the 2011 FIBA Europe Young Women's Player of the Year, and the 2019 WNBA Finals MVP.[3]

Emma Meesseman
Emma Meesseman (48369656116) (cropped).jpg
Meesseman in 2019
No. 33 – UMMC Ekaterinburg
PositionPower forward
LeagueRBPL
Personal information
Born (1993-05-13) May 13, 1993 (age 28)
Ypres, West Flanders, Belgium
NationalityBelgian
Listed height6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Listed weight191 lb (87 kg)
Career information
WNBA draft2013 / Round: 2 / Pick: 19th overall
Selected by the Washington Mystics
Playing career2009–present
Career history
2009–2012Blue Cats Ieper
2009–2012Lotto Young Cats
2012–2014ESB Villeneuve-d'Ascq
20132020Washington Mystics
2014–2016WBC Spartak Moscow Region
2016–presentUMMC Ekaterinburg
Career highlights and awards
Stats at WNBA.com

Professional careerEdit

EuropeEdit

 
Meesseman in 2013

Meesseman's club career began at the age of 16. She played domestically for the Blue Cats, based in her birth town of Ypres, and in the EuroCup for Lotto Young Cats, also in her native Belgium. In her second season with the Blue Cats she was named Belgium Championship MVP, and took the Young Cats to two EuroCups (2010–12).

In 2012, she joined ESB Villeneuve-d'Ascq of the Ligue Féminine de Basketball. In her second year with the club she played in her third EuroCup, reaching the semi-finals before falling to WBC Dynamo Moscow.[4]

Meesseman played for Spartak Moscow from 2014 to 2016, competing in two EuroCup tournaments. In February 2016, she was acquired by UMMC Ekaterinburg.[5]

With UMMC Ekaterinburg, Meesseman won the Russian National League championship in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. Meesseman and UMMC Ekaterinburg won the 2015–16 EuroLeague, Europe's premium basketball competition for women, in April 2016. Having missed out on the final in 2017 and finished 3rd, Meesseman and UMMC Ekaterinburg won the 2017–18 EuroLeague. Meesseman, averaging 19 points in the Final Four tournament, was elected Final Four MVP. Meesseman and UMMC Ekaterinburg followed this up with further Euroleague wins in seasons 2018–19 and 2020–21. With this 4th victory, Meesseman equaled fellow Belgian Ann Wauters' 4 Euroleague wins.

WNBAEdit

Meesseman was drafted 19th overall in the second round of the 2013 WNBA Draft by the Washington Mystics. In her rookie season, Meesseman was a back-up center on the Mystics' roster, averaging 4.4 points per game and 3.1 rebounds per game in 34 games with 1 start.

In the 2014 season, Meesseman became the starting center for the Mystics and averaged 10.1 points per game and a career-high 6.4 rebounds per game.

In the 2015 season, Meesseman would play outside her natural position after being moved to power forward in the Mystics' starting line-up to make room for Stefanie Dolson at the center position.[6][7] Meesseman would have a breakout season in 2015, averaging 11.6 points per game, 6.3 rebounds per game, was ranked fifth in blocks per game and also added three-point shooting to her skill set. Meesseman scored a career-high 24 points to go along with 10 rebounds in a loss against the Tulsa Shock on June 19, 2015.[8] She also made her first career all-star game appearance after being voted into the 2015 WNBA All-Star Game.[9]

In 2016, Meesseman signed a three-year contract extension with the Mystics.[10] During the 2016 season, Meesseman would have the best season of her career thus far, averaging a career-high 15.2 points per game and led the league in three-point field goal percentage.[11]

In 2017, after the Mystics traded Dolson to the Chicago Sky, Meesseman continued her role at the power forward spot in the starting lineup. In the Mystics' season opener, Meesseman scored 13 points along with 8 rebounds in an 89–74 victory over the San Antonio Stars.[12] During the 2017 season, Meesseman left the Mystics after the first four games due to overseas commitment to play for her national team during the FIBA world championship qualifying tournament. She returned on May 12, 2017, for practice and was activated to play on the Mystics' roster on June 28, 2017.[13][14] On July 30, 2017, Meesseman scored a new career-high of 30 points along with 10 rebounds in a 77–70 victory over the Atlanta Dream.[15] The Mystics secured a playoff berth as the #6 seed in the league with an 18–16 record. In the first round elimination game, the Mystics defeated the Dallas Wings 86–76, Meesseman scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.[16] They advanced to the second round elimination game, where they defeated the #3-seeded New York Liberty, 82–68, advancing to the semi-finals, making it the first time in franchise history where the Mystics have advanced past the second round. Meeeseman scored 5 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in the win.[17] In the semi-finals, the Mystics were defeated by the Minnesota Lynx in a 3-game sweep.

In January 2018, it was announced that Meesseman would sit out the entire 2018 season to play for Team Belgium in the 2018 FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup tournament.[18] Without Meesseman, the Mystics would make a run to the WNBA Finals, but were defeated in a 3-game sweep by the Seattle Storm.

In 2019, Meesseman would return to the Mystics and would play most of the season off the bench. With her return and strong contribution off the bench, the Mystics would finish as the number 1 seed with a 26–8 record, receiving a double-bye to the semi-finals. In the semi-finals, the Mystics would defeat the Las Vegas Aces 3–1, advancing to the WNBA Finals for the second year in a row. This time with Meesseman's presence and her off-the-bench heroics, she would help lead the Mystics to the WNBA championship after defeating the Connecticut Sun in five games. Meesseman would also win Finals MVP, becoming the first European player to do so and just the second international player in league history along with Lauren Jackson.

In 2020, the season was delayed and shortened to 22 games in a bubble at IMG Academy due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On August, 5, 2020, Meesseman scored a season-high 24 points along with 13 rebounds in a 83–77 victory over the Las Vegas Aces.[19] During the season, the Mystics were shorthanded with key players leaving in free agency and sitting out for health concerns as they finished 9–13 with the number 8 seed. Meesseman had returned to the starting lineup with increased playing time. They would lose 85–84 to the Phoenix Mercury in the first round elimination game.

InternationalEdit

Meesseman made her debut for Belgium at the 2011 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship for Women. In the final, Meesseman led the team to victory 77–49 over France, herself scoring 25 points, and was named tournament MVP.[20] On November 25, 2015, she scored 31 points, made seventeen rebounds and five assists for the women's senior team in a EuroBasket Women 2017 qualifier against Belarus.

In Belgium's quarterfinal Eurobasket 2017 match against Italy, she scored 28 points, had 11 rebounds, five assists, and five blocked shots.

Meesseman led Belgium to a best ever finish in EuroBasket Women 2017, a bronze medal, and was named to the All Star five of the tournament. With this finish in the top 5 of EuroBasket Women 2017, the Belgium women's national basketball team qualified for the 2018 FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup. Before this, the Belgium women's national basketball team had never qualified for a World Championships or the Olympic Games.

Continuing on from her strong performance at EuroBasket Women 2017, Meesseman led the Belgium women's national basketball team to a top finish in group C, besting (then second-ranked team in the world) Spain. The Belgian Cats next beat (the then third-ranked team in the world) France in the quarter-final only to lose against the top-ranked team in the world (USA) in the semi-final. Beaten in the bronze medal game by Spain, the Belgian women registered a 4th-place finish at their first FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup. Meesseman, averaging the most rebounds per game (10.7) and the second most points per game (18.5) at the tournament, was selected to the Tournament All-Star Five.

In 2020 the Belgian Cats, with Meesseman, qualified for the Olympic games in Tokyo.[21][22] She was later also named the TISSOT MVP at the FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Ostend.[23] At the 2020 Summer Games, she led the Belgium women's national basketball team to the quarter finals, having defeated Australia and Puerto Rico and lost to China in the poule phase. In the quarterfinals, Belgium then suffered a heartbreak loss to home team Japan.[24] At the end of the tournament, she was elected to the All-Star Five of the tournament, having posted the best points per game, steals and efficiency in the tournament.[25]

WNBA career statisticsEdit

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game  RPG  Rebounds per game
 APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game  BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game
 TO  Turnovers per game  FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 Bold  Career high ° League leader
Denotes seasons in which Meesseman won a WNBA championship

Regular seasonEdit

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG TO PPG
2013 Washington 34 1 14.7 .446 .000 .810 3.1 1.2 0.5 0.7 0.8 4.4
2014 Washington 34 34 27.4 .520 .000 .909 6.4 2.5 1.4 1.0 1.7 10.1
2015 Washington 34 34 27.2 .556 .462 .829 6.3 1.7 0.9 1.3 1.2 11.6
2016 Washington 34 34 29.3 .533 .448° .800 5.6 2.3 1.2 0.7 1.2 15.2
2017 Washington 23 21 28.4 .482 .318 .870 5.7 2.8 0.9 1.5 1.7 14.1
2019 Washington 23 6 23.6 .552 .422 .905 4.2 3.2 0.9 0.7 1.0 13.1
2020 Washington 20 20 31.7 .454 .289 .829 5.3 4.5 1.2 0.8 2.0 13.0
Career 7 years, 1 team 202 150 25.6 .513 .376 .849 5.3 2.4 1.0 1.0 1.4 11.3

PlayoffsEdit

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG TO PPG
2013 Washington 3 0 12.5 .455 .000 .667 1.3 1.0 0.0 1.0 1.3 4.0
2014 Washington 2 2 33.3 .526 .000 1.000 8.0 0.0 1.5 1.0 4.0 12.5
2015 Washington 3 3 33.1 .379 .250 .667 6.7 1.3 0.0 1.3 1.6 9.0
2017 Washington 5 5 31.2 .302 .231 .700 5.4 2.6 1.4 1.6 0.6 9.6
2019 Washington 9 3 28.2 .582 .516 .824 5.6 2.4 1.1 0.9 0.9 19.3
2020 Washington 1 1 35.0 .533 1.000 .000 3.0 4.0 2.0 1.0 0.0 18.0
Career 6 years, 1 team 23 14 28.2 .479 .480 .780 5.2 2.0 1.0 1.1 1.2 13.2

Personal lifeEdit

Meeseman's mother, Sonja Tankrey, is a former basketball player.[26] She was the Belgian Women's Basketball Player of the Year in 1983.[27]

Meesseman speaks fluent Dutch, French and English. Meesseman was also born with 50% hearing. She wears hearing devices behind both ears to compensate for her lack of hearing.[28]

AwardsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ All-EuroLeague Women First Team announced fib.basketball
  2. ^ Winners of EuroLeague Women Awards announced fiba.basketball
  3. ^ "EMMA MEESSEMAN PRESENTED WITH AWARD". eurobasketwomen2013.com. June 14, 2012. Archived from the original on April 27, 2013. Retrieved August 6, 2014.
  4. ^ "Emma MEESSEMAN".
  5. ^ "UMMC Ekaterinburg acquires Emma Meesseman from Sparta&k". February 10, 2016. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  6. ^ "Mystics All-Star silent no more". Swish Appeal. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  7. ^ "Dolson has brought the best out of Meesseman". ESPN.com. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  8. ^ "Pierson lifts Shock past Mystics". sportsnetwork.com. June 19, 2015. Archived from the original on June 30, 2015. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
  9. ^ Wang, Gene (July 21, 2015). "Mystics' Dolson, Meesseman selected to WNBA All-Star Game". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  10. ^ "Meesseman signs extension with the Mystics through 2019". Bullets Forever. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  11. ^ Ward, Elle (September 17, 2016). "Emmma Meesseman leads league in three-point shooting". Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  12. ^ "05/14/17: San Antonio Stars @ Washington Mystics – WNBA.com – Official Site of the WNBA". WNBA.com – Official Site of the WNBA. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  13. ^ "Transactions – WNBA". WNBA.com – Official Site of the WNBA. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  14. ^ Wang, Gene (May 12, 2017). "Mystics welcome Emma Meesseman back for first practice". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  15. ^ "Recap: Meesseman scores career-high 30 to lead Mystics to 77–70 win". Bullets Forever. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  16. ^ Capital One Arena Wednesday, September 6, 2017
  17. ^ Madison Square Garden Sunday, September 10, 2017
  18. ^ Emma Meesseman to miss 2018 WNBA season, will return in 2019
  19. ^ Wilson, Robinson each score 20, Aces beat Mystics 83-77
  20. ^ "Meesseman Leads All Tournament Team". FIBA Europe. August 14, 2011.
  21. ^ De Belgian Cats gaan naar Tokio! Ze maken hun droom waar na zege tegen Zweden Sporza.be, 9 February 2020, article in Dutch
  22. ^ Belgium Latest qualifier games FIBA basketball website
  23. ^ a b Meesseman crowned TISSOT MVP to lead All-Star Five
  24. ^ "One of all-time great women's games headlines Quarter-Finals day in Tokyo". www.FIBA.com. August 4, 2021.
  25. ^ "MVP Stewart leads All-Star Five at the Women's Olympic Basketball Tournament in Tokyo". www.FIBA.com. August 8, 2021.
  26. ^ "MEESSEMAN, THE RELUCTANT BELGIAN STAR". Fibaeurope.com. September 2, 2012.
  27. ^ Larsimont, Bert (April 18, 2013). "Making sense of the Mystics' Meesseman mystery pick". fullcourt.com. Archived from the original on September 22, 2016. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  28. ^ Giannotto, M. (June 18, 2013). "Washington Mystics' Emma Meesseman overcomes hearing disorder". The Washington Post.
  29. ^ Valerie Hardie (December 6, 2019). "Vlaamse Reus gaat naar Emma Meesseman, winnares WNBA laat Nina Derwael achter zich (article in Dutch)". HLN.
  30. ^ "Meesseman wint haar eerste Vlaamse Reus, voor Derwael en Campenaerts (article in Dutch)". Sporza. December 6, 2019.
  31. ^ Marc Vermeiren (December 11, 2019). "Opnieuw prijs: Emma Meesseman wint ook Vlaams Sportjuweel (article in Dutch)". Het Nieuwsblad.
  32. ^ Emma Meesseman Named WNBA Finals 2019 MVP
  33. ^ Emma Meeseman uitgeroepen tot sportvrouw van het jaar Focus-wtv.be

External linksEdit