Forward Emma Meesseman signs with reigning WNBA champion Chicago Sky

The reigning WNBA champion Chicago Sky have added another key player in their hopes of repeating in 2022.

Forward Emma Meesseman signed as a free agent with the Sky, the team announced Friday. Meesseman is the third former WNBA Finals MVP on the Sky's roster, joining Candace Parker (2016) and Kahleah Copper (2021). Meesseman won the honor in 2019 when she helped the Washington Mystics win their first championship.

Meesseman was one of the last big names on the WNBA's free-agent market to sign; center Liz Cambage (Los Angeles) and point guard Sue Bird (Seattle) had their previously reported signings officially announced Friday, too.

Sky veteran guards Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley, along with guard/forward Copper, were announced Thursday as returning to Chicago after they re-signed as free agents.

The 6-foot-4 Meesseman, who turns 29 in May, was born in Ypres, Belgium, and is a longtime member of the Belgian national team. Her commitment to that team kept her from playing in the WNBA last year, as she was focused on the Olympics.

She was a second-round pick at age 19 by the Mystics in 2013, and proved to be the steal of that draft. She has played seven seasons total in the WNBA, also sitting out 2018, and averaged 11.3 points and 5.3 rebounds for her career. Meesseman is part of a new Belgian connection with the Sky: 2000 WNBA No. 1 draft pick Ann Wauters is now in Chicago as an assistant coach to James Wade, and point guard Julie Allemand, 25, went to the Sky in a Feb. 3 trade.

Wauters played nine seasons in the WNBA, including winning the 2016 league championship as Parker's teammate in Los Angeles. Allemand made her WNBA debut in 2020 with Indiana. They also have both played for the Belgian national team. Meesseman is currently playing for UMMC Ekaterinburg in Russia, as are Vandersloot and Quigley. Wade has coached Meesseman before overseas.

"Emma is a world-class athlete who has won at every level," Wade said. "I've had the fortune of coaching Emma in the past, so I've seen up close exactly what she brings -- and she is someone who plays the game the way it's supposed to be played."