January 16, 2017
There has been a slight shake up in the standings in the Korean League as Samsung Blue Minx have taken over the #2 spot. With the season a little more than halfway done, team’s records are still very close to one another. Second placed Samsung only has five more wins than last placed KB Stars, and three more wins that 5th placed Shinhan Bank. Just one game separates the second and third placed team and two games separate second and fourth. With that, outside of first placed Woori Bank, all teams have a chance to move into play-off contention during the second part of the season. The top three teams make the play-offs with the first placed team receiving a bye all the way to the finals. Here’s how teams have done since the New Year began;
Woori Bank; Woori Bank has continued their winning ways and are undefeated since the new year began. With a league best 21-1 record they are just four games away from clinching the regular season championship. Woori started the year with a blowout win against last placed KB Stars, winning 71-51. They then took down KEB Hana Bank 84-59. Playing the last game before the all-star break, Woori blew out Shinhan Bank 73-47. Woori Bank seems to get better as the season goes along. With the return of their starting point guard who has missed more than a month with the team, the only people who can get in the way of another WKBL championship is Woori Bank themselves.
Samsung; Since the start of 2017 Samsung are 3-0. They’ve defeated KDB 73-64, KEB 86-53, and KB Stars 66-62. Against KDB Samsung was lead by Alyssa Thomas who filled up the stat sheet with 21 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals in the win. In a surprising blowout game against then second placed KEB Hana, Natasha Howard took the lead scoring 18 points and pulling down 16 rebounds! In what was an evenly matched game that could have gone either way, Samsung held on in the end to win their third game in a row. KB were able to hold both Howard and Thomas to much lower stats than usual which gave them a fighting chance. However, Samsung used their home court advantage to sneak by in the end and move into second place in the standings.
KEB Hana; KEB Hana are 1-3 in 2017. They won their first game of the year against KB Stars but haven’t picked up another since; losing to Samsung, Woori Bank and Winnus KDB. They won 58-48 against KB with a balanced effort on offense and a big stance on defense where KB took 27 three pointers but only made 3. There wasn’t much fight in KEB Hana when they faced Samsung on the road losing 86-53. Thornton did all she could on the boards with 16 but Samsung had four players score in double figures to Hana’s two. Hana Bank got blown out again against first placed Woori Bank losing 59-84 at home. Woori Bank had five players score in double figures which Hana again only had two players score in double figures. Their last loss came at the hands of fourth placed KDB. Losing a closer game at home 80-83. A close game throughout, Thornton and Christmas went to battle for their teams. In the end Christmas got more help from her teammates to pull out the win and are now only one game out of playoff contention.
Winnus KDB; KDB has moved up in the standings and are now just one game out of the playoffs heading into the all-star break. Going 2-2 since the new year KDB is back to playing more confidence. This first loss came at the hands of Samsung 64-73. Christmas had 17 and 9 but didn’t get much help from the rest of her teammates. They got back on track against Shinhan winning 67-63 at home. After being up by 13 to enter the fourth, Shinhan Bank were close to making a comeback winning the quarter 21-12. However, it was a little too late as KDB hung on for the win. This time around they weren’t so lucky against Shinhan as they lost 62-71 on the road. Despite the best efforts of Christmas who finished with 20 points and 8 rebounds, they just couldn’t overcome the balanced attack from Shinhan. Their last game before the break needed overtime to decide its winner. KDB came out on top against KEB 83-80 and are now just one game behind KEB for the final playoff spot.
Shinhan Bank; Shinhan Bank has fallen behind again and sit in last place in the standings with a 8-14 record. Even still, they are only two games outside of a playoff spot. Shinhan Bank are 1-2 since the start of the new year. Their first loss came at the hands of Winnus KDB 67-63. Williams but up big numbers scoring 24 points in the loss. Shinhan then faced KDB yet again but this time the results were different. Shinhan won 62-71 as they used their home court to their advantage. Playing in the last game before the All-Star break Shinhan faced first placed Woori on the road. Shinhan must have already prepared for break as they didn’t put up a fight losing 73-47.
KB Stars; 0-3 since the New Year, KB has been stuck on 6 wins for quite some time. They are currently in last place in the standings and haven’t gotten much better since making a foreigner change to their roster. KB lost to KEB 48-58, to Woori 51-71 and to Samsung 66-62. Pierson has done as much as she can scoring in double figures in all three games but they continue to fall short. Their closest game against Samsung was a battle but Samsung’s balanced attack overwhelmed the visitors. Surprisingly, KB hasn’t been getting the usual production from the domestic players. Outside of Gang Aejeong, there hasn’t been a huge contribution from players that normally produce. KB is also going through a difficult time as one of their best players decided to quit the team last week. It is not known why she decided to leave the team but there is speculation that she was unhappy with her role on the team and the pressure put on by the coaching staff. Although they are at the bottom of the standings they are still not out of making the playoffs if they go on a run.
- Woori Bank 21-1
- Samsung 11-10
- KEB Hana 10-12
- Winnus KDB 9-12
- Shinhan Bank 8-14
- KB Stars 6-15