09 - 17
July 2016
10 Sofia Ouahabi (BEL), 5 Julie Allemand (BEL)
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Allemand ready to hit a higher gear

MATOSINHOS (FIBA U20 Women’s European Championship Women 2016) – One of the most talented stars stepping out in Matosinhos, Belgium playmaker Julie Allemand already has a truly global profile.

That was confirmed when she was one of only a handful of Europeans in the 2016 WNBA draft, eventually getting the nod and seal of approval from the Indiana Fever.

"I know I have gained a lot of experience and to get to play against someone like (Diana) Taurasi and honestly, I don’t even have the words to describe it - it was just unbelievable for me - Allemand.

During the last couple of years, Allemand placed herself on the WNBA radar with her performances for Mithra Castors Braine in both EuroLeague and EuroCup Women – and now she will be re-entering the latter for 2016-17 with the Belgian champions.

With an appearance at the 2015 FIBA U19 Women’s World Championship also on her resume, the guard is very much the centerpiece of a talented Belgian generation who are trying to overcome their false start in Matosinhos and now looking to book a spot in the Semi-Finals.

"We did not start the tournament well by losing our first two games, but we finally won against Turkey and it was a big relief," confessed Allemand.

"The Round of 16 win against Greece has given us a lot of motivation and we will do everything to now go even further.

"We’re ready to take on Spain in the Quarter-Finals and of course they are a great team, but we will do everything we can to make sure we are ready. We have no pressure as Belgium is a small country and it’s only one game and anything can happen.

"I think we have improved because the chemistry is now much better between the girls. Maybe we were missing something in the beginning and we were not understanding each other, but it's better and everyone can see by the way we are playing on the court."

She continued, "It's never easy leading a team and especially because normally I am always the youngest player. Here in Matosinhos, it’s good for the others to have someone like myself to help and while it isn't easy as I say, I love to play for Belgium and so of course it's always great to play in these tournaments."

As for her adventures in EuroLeague and EuroCup Women, Allemand is still pinching herself in disbelief at having had the chance to test herself against arguably the biggest ever legend of the women’s game. While she’s also delighted to have done so wearing the colours of a club that is flying the flag proudly for Belgian women’s basketball in Europe.

"EuroLeague Women was amazing and a great experience for me," she smiled.

"I know I have gained a lot of experience and to get to play against someone like (Diana) Taurasi...honestly, I don’t even have the words to describe it - it was just unbelievable for me.

"It means that I perhaps have the potential to be there regularly also, so I have to keep doing what I do and see where that takes me.

"It's true that the fan support for women's basketball in Braine is great," added Allemand.

"In the last two years it has been building up and I think for this is great for Belgium, because there is also Namur and we are both helping the national team grow."

And with Allemand on hand, the status of Belgian basketball might just be elevated further in years to come – if not in the coming hours and days if she can help her team take down reigning champions Spain.