CHENGDU, China, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- Title favorite Inner Mongolia trounced Hebei 103-59 to kick off the Women's Chinese Basketball Association (WCBA) season here on Friday.
Shanghai guard Peng Szu-Chin hobbled off the court, seemingly through a strain, just one minute into the second half. Without one of its main scorers, Shanghai could not catch up on the offensive end as Xinjiang pulled away through the backcourt combo Wang Siyu and Wang Lili's efforts.
After substitutes stepped in, Xinjiang maintained its level of defense, holding Shanghai to shot-clock violations on several occasions and leading 27-18 at halftime.
With starters back on court in the third quarter, Shanxi again pushed their lead back to double figures on Wu's three-point play with 2:50 left before going up 63-56 heading toward the final 10 minutes.
Head coach Li Tie expressed gratitude for the CSL clubs and the players' participation. "They have endured intensive games and training for 70 days, which was very tough, but they made it through. I myself once took part in a lot of training camps with the national team and I understand they might want to spend more time with their family during the break," he said.
"We haven't had an official game for quite a long time, thus leading to our huge anticipation towards it. All of us are excited about coming back on court," added China's national team center.
Next up for Halep is another 19-year-old youngster, Iga Swiatek of Poland, whom Halep defeated in the round of 16 here last year.
Clubs like Bayern had to accept a substantial loss in quality after the departures of Thiago Alcantara (Liverpool), Philippe Coutinho (back to Barcelona), and Ivan Perisic (Inter).
Athletic's last home defeat was probably the most painful of them all as it lost 1-0 at home to newly promoted Cadiz on Thursday despite playing against nine men for almost half an hour. The loss again highlighted the lack of attacking ideas under coach Gaizka Garitano and although there are obvious weaknesses to the squad, many think a more aggressive coach could get more out of it.
"Everyone on the team has to contribute in some way," she noted.
"We contained their three-pointer shooting quite well," Dongguan coach Lin Yaosen reflected.