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Shinhan Bank’s scary momentum catches up with Woori Bank

The momentum of Incheon Shinhan Bank in women’s professional basketball has swallowed up second-place Asan Woori Bank. They’re 4-1, including two straight wins. The scary momentum has ignited a four-way playoff race.

Shinhan Bank, led by Kunadan, defeated Woori Bank 79-76 in overtime in a home game of the 2023-24 Women’s Professional Basketball League regular season at Dowon Gymnasium in Incheon on Sunday.

Shinhan, which also defeated Bucheon Hana OneQ at the same venue three days earlier, continued its recent surge to a 4-1 record, including two straight wins. They improved their season record to 6-15 and closed the gap on fourth-place Hana OneQ (7-13) to 1.5 games.

Woori Bank, on the other hand, suffered a heartbreaking loss against Shinhan Bank. With a 17-4 record, the gap between them and the leaders Cheongju KB Stars has grown to two games, putting a red flag on the title race.

Shinhan Bank was led by Kim Sonia with 21 points and nine rebounds, while Kang Gye-ri added 14 points, including three three-pointers, and Lee Kyung-eun chipped in with 11 points, six rebounds, and four assists. Goo Seul added 11 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals, while Kim Jin-young had 10 points, four rebounds and two steals.

Woori Bank was led by Kim Dan-bi, who scored a whopping 40 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for a double-double, while Choi Yi-sam chipped in with 15 points and eight rebounds and Na Yoon-jung with 14 points each, but lost the battle of concentration in the final minutes.

Shinhan Bank will look for its first three-game winning streak of the season on Nov. 29 when it welcomes last-place Busan BNK Thumb to town. Woori Bank will take a breather before turning things around at home against BNK on March 3.

Woori Bank, led by Kim Dan-bi, set the tone early on. She was responsible for eight points on her own, including an early end-to-end play and a two-point shot. Na Yoon-jeong also contributed with an outside shot, giving Woori Bank an early 11-3 lead.

Shinhan Bank tried to close the gap with consecutive points from Kim Sonia, Kim Jin-young, and Lee Kyung-eun, but Woori Bank’s outside shooting from Nah Yoon-jung and Lee Myung-kwan repeatedly threw cold water on Shinhan Bank’s efforts to catch up.

The fierce offense continued in the second quarter. Kim Dan-bi’s score was answered by Kim Sonia, and Na Yoon-jung’s outside shot was answered by Kang Gye-ri with a three-pointer. The two teams continued to battle fiercely. Whenever Woori Bank made a run, Shinhan Bank would quickly catch up.

With Woori Bank leading 32-24, Shinhan sparked a comeback with an outside shot from Lee Kyung-eun. Jilsera Nayunjeong widened the gap again with a three-pointer, and this time Kang Gye-ri responded with a three-pointer of her own. Woori Bank led 35-30 at the half.

Shinhan Bank, which was unable to overturn the deficit despite sparking a comeback, managed to turn the tables in the third quarter. Choi Yi-sam’s three-pointer from outside widened the gap, but Kim Sonia responded with an identical three-pointer in 10 seconds, and the opponent’s offense came up empty.

Two free throws by Kim Ji-young brought Shinhan Bank within 39-40, and Kim made a fastbreak layup following a steal. Woori Bank responded immediately with a basket by Choi Yi-sam.

After a brief lull, Woori Bank quickly widened the gap again with back-to-back baskets by Choi Yi-sam and Kim Dan-bi. However, Shinhan Bank, which was trailing 41-48, closed the gap again to one point, 49-50, after two free throws by Goo Seul and a three-pointer by Kim Sonia at the end of the third quarter.

Woori Bank entered the final quarter with a one-point lead. After Woori took the lead with a basket from Na Yoon-jeong, Shinhan responded with back-to-back baskets from Kang Gye-ri and Lee Kyung-eun. This time, Woori extended the lead back to 58-53 with six consecutive points from Kim Dan-bi.

From then on, the game became a nail-biter for both teams. Trailing 56-60, Shinhan Bank turned the game around with a basket by Kim Sonia and a reverse three-pointer by Lee Kyung-eun. From then on, both teams battled fiercely as they battled back and forth.

With 59 seconds left in regulation, Kim Dan-bi made two free throws to give Woori Bank a 64-63 lead, and Shinhan Bank tied the game again with a three-pointer by Goo Seul. With 27 seconds left, Kim tied the game at 66-66 with a layup. With five seconds left in regulation, Lee Da-yeon had two free throws to tie the game, but she missed both. The game went into overtime.

In overtime, the sparks flew. Shinhan Bank opened the scoring with a three-pointer by Kang Gye-ri, but Woori Bank responded with back-to-back baskets by Kim Dan-bi and Lee Myung-kwan. From there, both teams went back and forth. With 1:29 left, Shinhan Bank took the lead for good at 75-74 thanks to back-to-back baskets by Kim Jin-young.

However, the battle for concentration in the final minutes of the game was close. Kim Dan-bi’s shot fell short, but Kim Sonia grabbed the crucial rebound. Kang Gye-ri took advantage of a lapse in Woori Bank’s defense and hit a jumper. With 46.3 seconds left, Shinhan Bank took a three-point lead, 77-74.

Cornered, Woori Bank immediately tried to counterattack, but Kim Dan-bi slipped and lost the ball, taking away the offense. Woori Bank used foul tactics to turn the tide, and while Kang Gye-ri only made one free throw, Kim Dan-bi made a layup to pull within two points.

With 12 seconds left, Kim Sonia’s 1 of 2 free throws made it a 3-point game, effectively Woori’s last shot in the first overtime. Desperate for a three-pointer to tie the game, Woori Bank was unable to capitalize on the opportunity, which led to a crucial steal by Kang Gye-ri. The game, which went back and forth, came to a close in overtime. Shinhan Bank and Woori Bank were evenly matched.

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