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Moore ready for WCBA challenges

Updated: 2013-11-20 11:17
( Xinhua)

Moore ready for WCBA challenges

Maya Moore, left, of Shanxi Xingrui breaks through against a Bayi player during their WCBA league opener in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, Nov 19, 2013. [Photo/Xinhua]

TAIYUAN, Shanxi Province - Shanxi Xingrui spearheaded by Maya Moore worked wonders in the 2012-13 season of the Women's Chinese Basketball Association (WCBA) league, storming to the crown as a promoted team.

The victory is reminiscent of "Kaiserslauten Myth", which witnessed promoted Kaiserslauten win the 1997-98 German Bundesliga in stunning fasion.

It seems what Moore touches turns into gold.

In 2009 and 2010, Moore led University of Connecticut to win two NCAA championships, before she was selected as the top draft pick by Minnesota Lynx in 2011 and helped the team win the WNBA title the same year.

Since then, Moore continued to excel, not just in WNBA, but also in Europe and China. She led Spanish Ros Casares Valencia to Euroleague title, and Shanxi to WCBA crown.

In October, Moore helped Lynx sweep Atlanta Dream in WNBA finals for her second title in the past three years.

Now, she wants more. "We are trying to get back to the (WCBA) championship," she said.

But the road ahead isn't smooth. "I'm excited to get going again," said Moore. "It's gonna be a really tough, tough year, a lot of competition for every team."

Shanxi keeps seven out of last season's players, including Moore, Zhang Wei and Yu Dong, and recruited Guan Xin, Zhang Yu, Wu Di and several other players during the transfer window.

Japanese point guard Ohga Yuko will replace retired South Korean Jung Sun-min.

Last season, Moore and Australian center Elizabeth Cambage grabbed most spotlight among foreign players, as they led Shanxi and Zhejiang respectively to the finals.

Attention on Moore-Cambage rivalry might turn to a new clash between Moore and Brittney Griner, the 2013 WNBA top draft pick who filled the spot vacated by Beijing-bound Cambage.

Besides Griner, Zhejiang had achieved several other off-season acquisitions, extending the contract with former Chinese national player Bian Lan and recruiting Wu Jinzhu, Shanxi's last season WCBA finals MVP, and Gao Song, who shone at Asian championship in October.

A shadow, however, has been cast over Zhejiang's run for the championship as six players, including veterans Bian and Chen Xiaoli, refused to train, accusing head coach Li Xin of verbally abusing them.

The club responded by indefinitely banning the rebel players from training.

Zhejiang isn't the only team coveting Shanxi's crown.

Guangdong recruited Tamika Catchings, 2012 WNBA finals MVP, last season, only to be eliminated in playoffs first round.

For the new season, Guangdong has recruited 2012 WNBA top draft pick Nneka Ogwumike. The No 1 picks for the past three WNBA seasons are set to be reunited in WCBA.

Lauren Jackson, an Australian center, has joined Heilongjiang to assist Chinese national team scorer Ji Yanyan in the paint field.

Veterans Miao Lijie and Chen Nan will lead Shenyang Army and Bayi respectively, who have both witnessed tremendous progess made by young players this year.

Shenyang Army's Li Meng, 18, who exhibited offensive talent while playing in the East Asian Games, will partner with teen star Zhao Shuang, who showed solid defense in the Asian championship.

Bayi's new hope is Lu Wen, who finished with 24 points without any turnover in her Asian championship debut.

The 2013-14 WCBA league will raise its curtain next Tuesday, with Shanxi opening against Bayi.


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