Defending women’s professional basketball champion Asan Woori Bank scored a dramatic buzzer-beater to knock off Cheongju KB, a strong contender for the title this season.
Woori Bank won a thrilling 72-71, one-point victory over KB in the first round of the 2023-2024 Women’s Professional Basketball League 텍사스홀덤 on Friday at Asan Sunshin Gymnasium, thanks to a last-second buzzer-beater by Lee Myung-kwan. Woori Bank, which battled through a rash of injuries including Yoo Seung-hee and Na Yoon-jung, won its third straight game to take the lead and set the tone for its first meeting with KB, which is expected to contend for the title.
Woori Bank struggled until the middle of the game, losing to KB’s under-the-basket play with national center Park Ji-soo. They fought back by aggressively attempting to shoot from the perimeter whenever they got the chance, but ended the first half trailing by four points, 33-37.
Both teams came out firing in the fourth quarter, trading 3-pointers. Trailing 54-60 midway through the quarter, Woori Bank took its first lead of the game, 63-60, thanks to three-pointers from Park Ji-hyun, who had previously scored just three points, Choi Yi-sam, and Goara. Following a steal by Goara, Choi Yi-sam scored again and Park Ji-hyeon scored under the basket to extend the lead to eight points.
KB responded with three points of their own. Back-to-back three-pointers by Kang Yi-seul and two by Kim Min-jung tied the game at 68-68. Woori Bank Goara scored two points to make it 68-70, but Lee Yoon-mi hit a three-pointer to make it 71-70.
With 3.6 seconds left, Woori took the offensive possession and it was veteran Lee Myung-kwan, who showed great concentration despite not having a full sole, that gave Woori the win. Lee celebrated with his teammates as he finished off the ensuing under-the-basket opportunity with a buzzer-beater. In addition to Lee Myung-kwan, Woori Bank was led by Choi Yi-sam (23 points), who scored a career-high 23 points, and last season’s MVP Kim Dan-bi (17 points). Woori also added guard Park Hye-jin, who will soon return from injury, to the mix.
KB was led by Kang Isul (26 points) and Park Ji-soo (17 points and 24 rebounds), but they missed three-pointers at key moments.