15 - 25
June 2023
Group B preview: Expect the unexpected in Tel Aviv
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Group B preview: Expect the unexpected in Tel Aviv

TEL AVIV (Israel) - The home fans in Tel Aviv will turn up the volume and hope Israel can make some noise on the court in what is primed to be a hugely exciting and unpredictable Group B.

The tournament co-hosts must rely on home advantage and their leading players finding top gear to enjoy a belated return to the FIBA Women's EuroBasket after a 12 year absence. They head into this pool as the underdogs alongside the Czech Republic, but their encouraging preparation results have sharpened the focus of Belgium and Italy who were labelled as favorites to advance.

The Belgian Cats will not only be looking to top the Group B standings, but will have a desire to make it three podium finishes in four editions after bronze in both 2017 and 2021. Meanwhile, Italy will want to finally live up to expectation and make the kind of deep run they crave, but offensively have not hit the heights in the build up.


Much has changed since the Cats took bronze in 2021. Valery Demory took over from Philip Mestdagh and he was then subsequently replaced by current playcaller Rachid Meziane.

On court, Emma Meesseman is universally recognized as one of the top players in the world. With two previous All-Star five places banked, anything is possible with her wearing a Cats vest – even a first title. She will be joined in the paint by Kyara Linskens, Bethy Mununga and young Billie Massey.

As well as Meesseman patrolling the paint, look out for Kyara Linskens who will have a big job to do alongside her, as might young Billie Massey. Meanwhile, we could also get to see Bethy Mununga for the first time at the Final Round, with the powerhouse forward having put up phenomenal numbers with ACS Sepsi-Sic in EuroCup Women this season.

So yes, there are some reasons why Belgium might feel they are heading into the unknown. Yet equally, it also feels like so many of the ingredients needed for medal success will be available and so now we hold our collective breath in anticipation to see what way it goes.

Star Player: Emma Meesseman

Head to Head P W L Win %
v Czech Republic 7 1 6 12%
v Israel 3 3 0 100%
v Italy 16 5 11 31%



A roster with modest experience and elite level players did well to book a ticket to this edition and they will be looking to improve on consecutive 15th placed finishes, which followed on from a lowly 13th as 2017 co-hosts.

Wiith Renata Brezinova in the paint they have a solid foundation to build on and start rising up again. Especially as forward Natalie Stoupalova has been superb recently and looks like having an impact. However, the loss of star center Julia Reisingerova to an injury is a real hammer-blow.

Tereza Vyoralova and Petra Holesinksa will try to provide a scoring punch from the backcourt, while Veronika Vorackova will try to recapture the form from earlier in her career on the wings.

Romana Ptackova took the coaching reins midway through the qualifying process and is renowned for working with younger players. So far, she is doing an excellent job and her team can't be discounted from a shot at the Quarter-Finals.

Star Player: Veronika Vorackova

Head to Head P W L Win %
v Belgium 7 6 1 85%
v Israel 3 3 0 100%
v Italy 5 4 1 80%


Israel are back after a 12-year absence and the co-hosts are out to snap a 20-game losing streak at the event. The signs are positive after a win-double against Sweden in the Qualifiers and two competitive games against Latvia.

They have scoring power in shooting guard Alyssa Baron, while Eden Rotberg knows how to get it done alongside her in the backcourt. The presence of the all-action Jennie Simms means their chances are transformed as she is such a do-it-all star and clutch performer.

Alexandra Cohen will have to get through a lot of the dirty stuff in the paint, but the emergence of rising star Yarden Garzon has everyone excited and she is one of the young players to watch.

Extending their involvement beyond Tel Aviv and getting on the plane to Ljubljana would be the dream, although the first task is to get a first victory on the board for more than three decades.

Star Player: Jennie Simms

Head to Head P W L Win %
v Belgium 3 0 3 0%
v Czech Republic 3 0 3 0%
v Italy 2 0 2 0%



After years of fuelling a stunning youth talent pipeline, Italy may be about to realize their potential to become a leading women's basketball nation as they look to improve on the underachievement of 9th place two years ago.

Cecilia Zanadalasini showed the way in 2017 when she burst onto the scene with some epic performances and she's now the standout leader. Perhaps young guard Matilde Villa for example will follow some of those footsteps. However, minutes will be limited with Costanza Verona and the experienced Nicole Romeo also in the backcourt.

The frontcourt will have Olbis Andre using her size and rebounding prowess to great effect, Martina Bestagno offering her know-how, with the likes of Sara Madera and the superb Jasmine Keys also in situ.

Italian basketball is on a high after Beretta Famila Schio made history with a maiden EuroLeague Women Final Four appearance, but can the national team also shine in 2023? The Quarter-Finals is the minimum aim.

Star Player: Cecilia Zandalasini

Head to Head P W L Win %
v Belgium 16 11 5 68%
v Czech Republic 5 1 4 20%
v Israel 2 2 0 100%

FIBA Women's World Ranking, presented by NIKE
7. BELBelgium 3. 632.7
14. ITAItaly 6. 396.8
23. CZECzech Republic 14. 278.7
49. ISRIsrael 24. 139.8