Asan Woori Bank and Cheongju KB, two of the top two rivals in women’s professional basketball, will meet for the first time this season on Friday.
Woori Bank, last season’s champion, and KB, the 2021-2022 season’s top-ranked team, are tied for first place after winning their opening two games side by side through the 14th.
Woori Bank is off to a strong start, with ‘Ace’ Kim Dan-bi putting up 32 points, 17 rebounds, 10 assists, and three blocked shots in the opening game against Busan BNK on Nov. 5.
KB, who challenged for back-to-back league titles last season but were unable to fill Park Ji-Soo’s injury void and missed the playoffs, have cruised to two straight wins with Park showing off his early season form.
The clash between the two teams, which will take place at 7 p.m. on Nov. 15 at Yi Sun-Shin Gymnasium in Asan, Chungcheongnam-do, is being touted as a “big match” that will have a major impact on the early season standings.
With BNK, last season’s championship runner-up, and Yongin Samsung Sinseng, which is looking forward to the return of players such as Kiana Smith and Yoon Ye-bin, at the top of the standings, the team that comes out of the gate with three straight wins is likely to continue its early momentum.
For now, the early momentum is in KB’s favor.
KB blasted Incheon Shinhan Bank 82-57 on the 8th, and then cruised past Samsung Sinsang 63-44 on the 11th.
The team has a solid foundation in guard Heo Ye-eun, shooter Kang Seul-ul, and center Park Ji-soo, as well as the presence of Kim Min-jung, who does the dirty work.
On the other hand, Woori Bank won an overtime thriller against BNK 74-70 on the 5th, and on the 9th, they defeated Bucheon Hana OneQ, 57-53, in a game that is categorized as a bottom-tier game.
Woori is without Park Hye-jin, who is unable to join the squad due to illness, while Yoo Seung-hee is out for the season after tearing her ACL in the opening game.
Also, Na Yoon-jeong injured her shoulder against Hana OneQ on Sept. 9 and is not expected to play until Sept. 15.
“Woori Bank has a lot of injuries at the beginning of the season, while KB is expected to have a slight advantage in the 15th game as Kim Ye-jin, an off-season signing, is doing his part,” said Kim Il-doo, a commentator for MBC Sports Plus. “Woori Bank’s power has been weakened by Kim Jong-un’s transfer to Hana OneQ, while the newly acquired Lee Myung-kwan’s performance is good.”
“Woori Bank will only have the power to compete with KB for the top spot once Park Hye-jin returns,” said Kim Il-doo, adding, “If the early season struggles continue, there is a possibility that Park Hye-jin will return sooner than expected.” 먹튀검증