Edwards, Vanloo, and Melbourne Draw National Team Selections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Three Mystics players are officially set to represent their national teams this summer in Paris, France.

Julie Vanloo, a rookie living her dream in the WNBA, looks to bring her veteran experience back to the Belgian National Team. Logging over a decade of playing experience in Europe, she gained familiarity with the faces of the WNBA having played alongside and against players from the league during the W offseason. From dominating in leagues across Italy to Spain to Turkey, and leading Belgium to its first FIBA Women’s EuroBasket Championship in 2023, Vanloo caught the attention of Mystics General Manager Mike Thibault and is now a starter for Washington.

“It was definitely something special,” Vanloo told Kareem Copeland of The Washington Post. “You’re starting in the WNBA — I never thought that would even happen this year.”

During a recent qualifying tournament, Vanloo and Belgium faced Team USA in their first matchup. While the Belgian Cats led the majority of the contest, a last-second putback by Breanna Stewart secured USA’s narrow 81-79 victory. Despite the loss, this matchup was a great indicator of the value Vanloo possesses as she led her team in scoring with 19 points, wreaking havoc on the U.S. defense. Team Belgium is currently ranked sixth in FIBA world rankings.

No stranger to wearing Canada’s logo across her chest, Aaliyah Edwards has been selected to represent Team Canada amid her first year in the WNBA. Edwards was previously a part of the team’s senior and junior national roster–where her talents led Canada to win a silver medal at the 2019 FIBA AmeriCup and a gold medal at the U16 FIBA America Championships, respectively. This selection marks her second Olympic appearance after representing the national team in 2020 as a teenager.

Aaliyah joins Laeticia Amihere (Atlanta Dream), Bridget Carleton (Minnesota Lynx) and Kia Nurse (Los Angeles Sparks) as the only Canadians in the WNBA heading to Paris. As it stands today, Canada is ranked fifth in the FIBA world rankings.

Newcomer Jade Melbourne will lace up for Team Australia on the biggest stage of the year for the first time in her career in Paris. Despite being the youngest player in the league, Melbourne’s ball handling abilities and basketball IQ displays the heavily sought after versatility she brings in both scoring and facilitating for any franchise.

“When it actually officially gets confirmed, it’s just a whole ’nother feeling. I was just so happy. I FaceTimed my mom and dad — it was 2 in the morning,” Jade told Copeland.

In 2021, Melbourne made her senior national team debut at the Asia Cup where her efforts led Australia to a bronze medal. As a product of the Melbourne Boomers, a prominent team in the WNBL known for developing young talent, her skills will be relied upon to bring the third ranked (FIBA) Opals squad to the podium, just as they were in the qualifying matchups leading up to Paris.

The opportunity to represent their respective national teams proves true to the testament of their skill, hard work, and dedication to this sport. Support the Mystics trio as they chase a spot on the podium this summer in France, set to run from July 26 to August 11.  All three teams are set to begin tournament play on July 29 with Australia playing Nigeria at 5 a.m. ET, Belgium facing Germany at 7:30 a.m. ET, and Canada meeting the host country, France, at 11:15 a.m. ET.