ESPN analyst Brian Windhorst has a term he likes to use when a basketball player’s game clicks at just the right moment. Windhorst calls this the‘Matrix moment’, when the game slows down in a players’ mind and they realize: “I’m the one in control here”. The idea of a “Matrix moment” is more than a reference to a classic science fiction film, it’s a neat way of describing the moment when a young basketball player firmly establishes themself as a force in their league, stepping up when it matters the most: after a teammate gets injured, toward the end of the regular season, or during the playoffs.
In the first two games of her Mystics’ semifinals match-up against the Las Vegas Aces, 26 year-old forward Emma Meesseman has entered her ‘Matrix moment’. Playing at the highest level of competition amidst some of the game’s premiere stars, Meesseman has seized the spotlight by playing the best basketball of her career. In this series, Meesseman is outscoring the reigning MVP, Elena Delle Donne, on her own team, as well as last year’s Rookie of the Year and the WNBA’s record holder for most points scored in a game, A’ja Wilson and Liz Cambage, on the other side. While I, among many others, predicted that this series would be a clash of the titans between Delle Donne and Cambage, it’s been the Emma Meesseman show so far.
In Game 1 on Tuesday, Meesseman broke out by scoring a career high 27 points on 12-18 shooting to help the Mystics narrowly defeat the Aces. Time slowed, everything came together, and the Belgian sensation could not miss a shot. But Meesseman wasn’t done yet. She set another career high in points in Game 2, dropping 30 points (11-19 from the field) in another Mystics win. But she hasn’t only shown dominance in terms of her scoring. Meesseman added 10 boards to her 27 points in Game 1; and showed excellent ability as an all-around player in game 2, recording 6 rebonds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. While Emma Meesseman has long been regarded as a talented prospect (she even technically shot 50/40/90 this year, without meeting statistical minimums to qualify for leaderboards), Meesseman has chosen the perfect time to come alive and help give her team a boost in the playoffs.
Emma Meesseman’s 2019
Emma Meesseman (Playoffs)
|Emma Meesseman (WNBA Reg Season)||Emma Meesseman (EuroLeague)|
Meesseman’s playoff success has left some fans wondering: Who is Emma Meesseman?
Drafted 19th overall by the Mystics back in 2013, Meesseman had already been playing professional basketball since she was 16; earning the FIBA Europe Young Women’s Player Award in 2011. When Meesseman was drafted, she considered herself a pure center and was hesitant to begin taking three pointers within the Mystics’ offense, making her current success from deep all the more impressive. An All Star in her third season in the WNBA, Meesseman’s focus seems to have shifted back toward Europe in her last few seasons, missing the 2018 season and part of this season to report for duties with the Belgian national team. If you couldn’t tell how much Meesseman cares about her team from her game, you would see it in the way she interacts with her teammates. After Thursday’s win against the Aces, Meesseman was giving out bear hugs, draping herself over teammate Kristi Tolliver as well as members of the Mystics’ PR team. Meesseman is hard of hearing, which, according to her teammates, helps her game through an enhanced ability to focus and ‘sense’ the game in other ways, per ESPN’s LaChina Robinson. Maybe that’s part of why Emma Meesseman has been so locked in in the playoffs. She’s turned off the distractions, and emerged as a star, as the Chosen One, ready to do her part to help lead the Mystics to their first WNBA championship.
All stats taken from Basketball-Reference, or stats.wnba.com, unless otherwise noted.
Dani Bar-Lavi is a comedian, writer, and guest contributor to SportsAreFromVenus. You can find them on Twitter @dblfluidity.