10 - 14
February 2022
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Can Belgium rising star Maxuella Lisowa Mbaka make an immediate impact?

WASHINGTON DC (USA) - The world knows what Belgian stars Emma Meesseman and Julie Allemand can do on the big stage, but there will be interest to see what up-and-comer Maxuella Lisowa Mbaka can do with the senior national team.

Lisowa Mbaka made her presence initially felt at the FIBA U19 Women's Basketball World Cup 2019 where she averaged 12.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.7 steals per game and helped Belgium to a fourth-place finish.

More recently, the 20-year-old has played two games at the senior level, playing in both of last November's FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2023 Qualifiers, where she averaged 6.0 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 13.2 minutes per game.

The 1.78m (5'10") forward seems likely to take on a heavier workload in Belgium's opening game of the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2022 Qualifying Tournament against Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico have struggled against powerhouse Belgium in their only two previous meetings.

At the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2018, Belgium defeated Puerto Rico 86-36 and last summer at Tokyo 2020, Belgium dominated again, winning 87-52.

If history can repeat itself and Belgium can continue the trend of opening up a big lead against Puerto Rico, meaning players like Meesseman and Allemand would get some rest, Lisowa Mbaka could find herself getting the opportunity to show what she can do in a more featured role.

Belgium and Puerto Rico will get their qualifying tournament underway later today when they square off at 16:30 CET.