Team USA managed to escape with a win on Thursday against Belgium, with Breanna Stewart tipping one in at the buzzer to secure the game 81-79.
It came with controversy, as Kelsey Plum appeared to step out of bounds at the end of the game according to a picture, although it’s hard to tell in video on-site from USA Basketball.
“Unfortunately, VAR does not exist here,” said Belgium guard Julie Vanloo after the game.
WHAT A FINISH 🤯🇺🇸 #USABWNT pic.twitter.com/R6VRaT8TeZ— USA Basketball (@usabasketball) February 8, 2024
WHAT A FINISH 🤯🇺🇸 #USABWNT pic.twitter.com/R6VRaT8TeZ
Regardless, Team USA walked away with the win, despite Belgium leading for most of the game. Had the US lost, it would have been their first in an Olympic Qualifying Tournament since 1980.
“For a while there it was really hard to close that gap, but we just stayed positive, relying on our defense, letting things come to us on offense, and just working through the kinks that we were going through on the court,” Napheesa Collier, who led the team with 23 points, said in a postgame press conference.
For Belgium, who was the home team, it was a crushing loss in front of what was a record crowd for women’s sports attendance.
“My team plays with fire in their heart. Sometimes we have good games, sometimes we have bad games,” Maxuella Loswa Mbaka said. “We just played with the Belgian mentality: fighting for every ball. And if the other team is not there, that’s when we need to step on them. Okay, the result, it wasn’t there at the end, but I think we showed pretty well. We are Belgium and we fight for what we want and what we want is winning.”