‘This season is different’ Hana WonQ races for 4th place early on

Bucheon Hana OneQ has been on fire this season. They have been fighting for fourth place since the beginning of the season.

Hana OneQ won the Woori Bank Woori WON 2023-2024 Women’s Professional Basketball League by 21 points, 65-44, against Yongin Samsung Life at Bucheon Indoor Gymnasium at 6 p.m. on March 3.

With the win, Hana OneQ improved to 3-6. They remained in fifth place in the league, but trailed fourth-place Busan BNK (3-5) by half a game for a playoff spot. It’s a far cry from the beginning of each season, when the team went on a losing streak and had its playoff dreams dashed early on.

The Hana OneQ’s first home win of the season continued their upward trend of three wins and two losses in their last five games. They’ve only lost to contenders like Cheongju KB and Asan Woori Bank, but they’ve picked up wins against teams in contention for the title.

This season, Hana OneQ made a major move to bolster its roster by signing team legend Kim Jong-un as a free agent and bringing in experienced guard Kim Sion via trade, and it’s paying off. There are growing hopes that the team will be able to play ‘spring basketball’ this season.

In this game, big man Yang In-young led the team to victory with a double-double. He scored 16 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and dished out four assists. Yang In-young, who is 6-foot-4 and has a good physique, has improved over the past few years and reached the Taegeuk mark. Since donning the Hana OneQ jersey ahead of the 2020-2021 season, he has been a key player for the team. Recently, he even added a surprise three-pointer to his arsenal, increasing his offensive options. He’s stepped up his game.

Alongside him, ace Shin Ji-hyun scored 13 points, including two three-pointers. The 22-year-old Jung Yerim also scored 10 points to round out the double-digit scorers. Veteran Kim Jong-un had eight points, five rebounds, and three assists.

Hana OneQ led 29-19 at halftime, setting the tone in its favor. The defense faltered in the third quarter, allowing Samsung Life to catch up. The gap narrowed to 42-38. However, Hana OneQ remained focused. Shin Ji-hyun scored from the inside and outside, while Kim Jong-hyun and Yang In-young did the dirty work. Jeong Yerim also showed off his athleticism. The result was a thrilling first win in front of the Bucheon home fans.

Samsung Life played a difficult game without starter and veteran Bae Hye-yoon. They lost the rebounding battle 31-44. Lee Hae-ran grabbed seven rebounds and Cho Soo-ah five, but they couldn’t win the battle under the basket. Samsung Life had only one double-digit scorer. Only Cho Soo-ah scored 13 points.

With the momentum in their favor, Hana OneQ will look to extend their winning streak against Incheon Shinhan Bank on April 6. In the head-to-head matchups this season, Hana OneQ has managed to take the early lead with one win. On March 19, they won 79-65 against Shinhan Bank. Shinhan Bank is coming off a long seven-game losing streak to start the season, but they got their first win of the season in a thrilling 66-57 victory over BNK on February 2.

Samsung Life is on a two-game losing streak and needs to turn things around. However, their other opponent is KB. They will meet at home at Yongin Indoor Gym on the 9th. KB is currently tied for first place in the league with a 7-1 record. They are tied with ‘rival’ Woori Bank. They are a tough opponent. It will be interesting to see if they can upset the odds and create an upset.

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