The women’s national basketball team will head to China in September for the Hangzhou Asian Games (AG) with valuable experience gained at the Park Shinjah Cup.

The Woori Bank Park Shinjah Cup 2023 concluded on March 3 at Cheongju Gymnasium in Chungcheongbuk-do, South Korea, to loud applause from the players, coaches, and basketball fans on site. Named after women’s basketball legend Park Shin-ja, the Cup was expanded to an international competition this year, with 10 teams from four countries (Korea, Japan, Australia, and the Philippines) participating. While the tournament had previously focused on developing prospective players and coaches, this time it was a different kind of competition.

In particular, Japan’s WJBL’s 1-2 ranked teams, Aeneos Sunflowers and Toyota Antelopes, as well as Australia’s mid-tier team, Bendigo Spirit, and the Philippine national team, participated and fiercely competed against six WKBL teams. The eventual winners were Toyota, who defeated Asan Woori Bank.

The Park Shinjah Cup was held on a tight schedule, with games played every day for nine days. However, after the tournament, the players and managers were all smiles. In particular, Park Ji-hyun (23, Woori Bank) and Park Ji-soo (24, Cheongju KB Stars), the main members of the national team who will play for Hangzhou AG in September, were in the spotlight for their outstanding performances.

Park played virtually full-time until the final. This was due to a series of injuries in the Woori squad just before the tournament. “It’s a schedule I’ve played enough times in my professional and national team career. Rather, I trusted the experience I had accumulated. I focused on what I needed to do even though it was a tough situation.”
Park averaged 23 points (1st), 9.8 rebounds (1st), 3.5 assists, 3.2 steals (1st), and 47.3 percent shooting from the field in 39.7 minutes per game at the Park Shinja Cup. After the runner-up finish, Woori Bank head coach Lee Sat-woo praised Park as “a player who will be the centerpiece of women’s basketball.”

Park Ji-soo was the star of the show at Cheongju Gymnasium, averaging 18 points (4th), 7.2 rebounds, 2.2 blocks (1st) and 59.5% shooting from the field in six games. He also showed off a new weapon, hitting all three of his three-pointers during the tournament. He said, “I realized during the international tournament that all the players with my height (1.93 meters) have a good three-point shot. It’s not just good, but there are several outstanding players,” he said, expressing his desire to improve.

The outstanding performances of the players can be attributed to the fact that the overseas teams gave their ‘best’ in the tournament. “We often interact with Japan, but the top teams in the league don’t schedule us very often,” said a WKBL coach. However, we were able to play against a top team in the Park Shinja Cup, which has raised its status as an international tournament. Every team from overseas gave their best effort. It was a great learning experience for not only the players but also the coaches.”

KBSN Sports commentators Kim Eun-hye and Ahn Deok-soo, who broadcast the Park Shinja Cup, also agreed that it was a very good tournament.

First, Kim Eun-hye said, “In recent years, Japan has been moving forward as a women’s basketball powerhouse, and we were a bit shy. However, in this tournament, I saw the players do their best and go head-to-head. It was an opportunity for us to gain confidence again.”

Commentator Ahn Deok-soo said, “I wonder why we were able to hold such a big tournament just now,” and then added, “The players had a great attitude on the court. If there are more international matches like this, it will be a great help for the national team as well as the players in the WKBL.”

The national women’s basketball team had a poor showing at the FIBA Asia Cup 2023, which ended in July. The team, led by Chung Sun-min, finished fifth in the tournament and failed to qualify for the final round of the Paris Olympics. After the Hangzhou AG, there will be no international competition until the 2026 Women’s Basketball World Cup. The Hangzhou Games are effectively the last chance for women’s basketball to turn around its recent slump.

“The players need to play with a sense of crisis,” both commentators said. Ahn Deok-soo said, “The enthusiasm and attitude that the national team showed at the Park Shinja Cup was definitely applaudable. If they show this momentum on the court in Hangzhou, they can definitely stand out as the Asian champions.”바카라사이트

“I don’t think there’s any success without the desperation of wanting to do it with your life,” Park, who returned to the tournament after eight years, told WKBL at the time. Indeed, the players’ passion on the court raised the profile of the tournament. The players’ efforts have paid off in terms of viewership. According to data released by the WKBL on Thursday, a total of 339,884 online viewers watched the tournament, a 248% increase from the previous year.

Having gained valuable experience in the Park Shinjah Cup, the players will now turn their attention to Hangzhou AG. Meanwhile, Jeong Sun-min-ho is in Group C, facing North Korea, Chinese Taipei, and Thailand. Chung’s first match will be against North Korea at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium on May 29.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *