January 21, 2018
The annual All Star festivities were held at the home of Bayi. As a result, the South team let Lu Wen take on a starring role at home. The North got a great shooting display from Shao Ting, but came up short 95-85 as many players were gearing up for the upcoming playoffs.
South vs North 95-85 SOU Lu 21 Stewart 11 Zhao 11 Jones 9 NOR Shao 31 Jin 12 Ji 11 Fowles 6 Parker 2
Regular Season Leaders:
Scoring: 1. Tuck 29.5, 2. Stewart 28.9, 3. Jones 28.8, 4. Li 23.8, 5. Howard 23.3, 6. Leuchanka 22.7, 7. Parker 22.1, 8. Kizer 20.9, 9. Henry 18.9, 10. Wang 18.6
Rebounding: 1. Jones 18.3, 2. Leuchanka 15.9, 3. Howard 13.0, 4. Stewart 11.8, 5. Parker 11.7, 6. Henry 11.6, 7. Li 10.5, 8. Williams 9.8, 9. Tuck 9.0, 10. Xu 8.8
Assists: 1. Li 4.9, 2. Yang 4.1, 3. Wang JQ 4.0, 4. Wu 3.9, 5. Ji 3.9, 6. Wang CC 3.6, 7. Jin 3.5, 8. Chen 3.5, 9. Fu 3.3, 10. Gong 3.1
After the short All Star Break, teams have a quick turnaround for the playoffs. The lower seeds will be looking to make a quick impact because they will host the first game and a loss could mean that they could get swept before hosting the fourth game. The four top teams in regular season will know that a loss in the first game is not devastating, but given their regular season dominance, they will not want their series to stretch any longer than necessary as the big battles are expected to be against each other. Neither military team will be involved so all teams will have no restrictions on their lineups.
(1) Beijing vs. (8) Zhejiang: Beijing’s run through the regular season was going well up to the end, when Sylvia Fowles had to miss games due to an injury. They will be hoping that the rest period will help her as she will match up against her WNBA teammate Natasha Howard. Zhejiang is in the middle of a run of poor form, having looked to seal a playoff place quickly only to find themselves hanging on to the last spot. Beijing’s advantage continues to be their strong domestic core as Shao Ting and Gao Song have led the way, but still had plenty of help.
(2) Xinjiang vs. (7) Guangdong: These two teams might have the most momentum of anyone in the playoffs. Guangdong fought their way into the playoffs after bringing in Glory Johnson and her battle with another former Tennessee player in Candace Parker is expected to be a good one. The focus may be on those two, but the secondary battle of young posts between Li Yueru and former Guangdong player Dilana Dilixiati will also be a good one. Wang Lili is the highest scorer among Chinese players still in contention as Xinjiang leans more heavily on its starting lineup than any other remaining team.
(3) Shanxi vs. (6) Heilongjiang: After several seasons of disappointment after a championship run, Shanxi is ready to be a real contender again. Jonquel Jones has had a fantastic season and will be expected to lead them in this series. Heilongjiang has flown under the radar a bit compared to the other teams, but Aneika Henry and company have had a solid season and will not be solely reliant on any single scoring threat.
(4) Shanghai vs. (5) Jiangsu: Jiangsu has been the story of the season after going through most of it without a foreign player and still having a great record. They finally brought in Viktoria Medvedeva, but still do not rely heavily on her, which will make them tough to guard. Shanghai is on a mission after the unfortunate way their championship hopes were dashed last year. Breanna Stewart has carried the team again and might be able to do it on her own in this first series, but they will need her supporting cast to step up as the games get tougher.