January 30, 2016
Between the end of the regular season and the start of the playoffs, the league conducted its all star game. As is normally the case, the game is designed to showcase the domestic talent. Three foreigners were selected as Cheyenne Parker represented the South and Maya Moore played for the North with Tina Charles also selected for the North but not playing in the game. The two stars of Bayi ended up leading the South to victory as Sun Mengran and Sun Mengxin represented the military club well. Ji Yanyan led the way for the North as Maya Moore was given an opportunity to try and lead the team back, but they ended up losing 108-97.
South vs. North 108-97 SOU Sun MR 25/10r Sun MX 21/11r Parker 7 NOR Ji 24 Moore 19/12r
It is a quick turnaround for all of the players now as the postseason begins. The best of three quarterfinals are designed to fit in before the Lunar New Year and games will be held on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. The teams with homecourt advantage host the second and third games. Here are the matchups with the team hosting the first game listed first:
Liaoning vs. Xinjiang: Xinjiang grabbed the top seed with their performances against the other top teams. Liaoning, on the other hand, had to go through an additional series just to get to this phase. Kara Braxton has improved steadily as the season has gone on and Liaoning will need her to give them 40 minutes a night to have a chance. Tina Charles has been a key figure for Xinjiang, helping the league newcomers surprise the more established teams all season long.
Shenyang vs. Guangdong: The other matchup from the top half of the bracket features military club Shenyang and a Guangdong team with a new look. Shenyang performed well in the middle group of teams, easing to the top spot there to draw the weakest team from the top group. The combination of their strong lineup of domestic talent and their advantage of limiting the opposition’s foreign player to 30 minutes a game has made them dangerous over the course of the season. Guangdong, which was without the services of Yelena Leuchanka late in the last stage, has made a big move, bringing Candace Parker on board for the playoffs. The speed at which they can build team chemistry with her will be critical for the team as her minutes will be limited and they will need to be as efficient as possible with her on the court to avoid upsets.
Shangxi vs. Beijing: Maya Moore looks to lead Shangxi to glory again as she joined the team in the middle of season. She has already delivered a number of her trademark performances as she integrated her self back into the lineup. Being able to play 40 minutes in each game should help her utilize her matchup advantage to her full potential. Beijing was in position to take the top seed, but faltered late as Sylvia Fowles has not played for several weeks. It is unclear what her status is for the series, but they will certainly need her to make sure they advance past her Minnesota Lynx teammate.
Bayi vs. Shanghai: The other military team also qualified for the playoffs as Bayi’s post players will have a tough time handling Shanghai and Elizabeth Cambage inside. With non-basketball distractions out of the way, Shanghai will look to recapture its momentum from earlier in the season. Elizabeth Cambage has already shown the ability to be productive without playing the whole game, so team will need her efficiency for 30 minutes a game to neutralize any disadvantages from the 10 minutes that she cannot play.