The reigning champions of the women’s basketball league Cheongju KB Stars are struggling to find their pace. The KB Stars remain in second from last on the Women’s Korean Basketball League (WKBL) standing while Asan Woori Bank Woori Won is looking a lot like the team to beat.

The Stars are struggling this WKBL season, having lost their last five matches, including a 66-54 loss against the Yongin Samsung Life Blueminx on Friday and a 51-39 loss against Asan Woori Bank Woori Won on Monday. They have only won two matches since the start of the 2022-23 season.

Last season, the Stars were able to put on a dazzling performance, securing the top seat in the WKBL with six games still left to play to become the first team to win the season title in 24 games since 2008, when the WKBL first combined the winter and summer seasons.

However, things are very different for the Stars this season as they are playing without star player and reigning WKBL MVP Park Ji-su.

Park, who is the only player active in both the WKBL and the Women’s National Basketball Association in the U.S., reportedly left training with the KB Stars in July and was taken to hospital because she was hyperventilating and showing signs of a panic attack.

Park was seen on the KB Stars bench for the first time on Nov. 30 when the KB Stars played Bucheon Hana 1Q and was also seen watching the match from the bench on Monday at the Cheongju Gymnasium in Cheongju, North Chungcheong.

Veteran and national team regular Kang Lee-seul is leading the Stars and trying to fill in for Park.

Before starting the WKBL season, Kang scored 37 points to lead the national team to Korea’s first International Basketball Federation Women’s Basketball World Cup win in 12 years in July, breaking the all-time World Cup efficiency record in the process.

Kang had led Korea to a 99-66 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina and the national team’s first win of the 2022 World Cup and first victory in a World Cup game since a 68-66 win over Mali in September 2010. Her 37 points was good enough to make her the second-highest scoring Korean in a World Cup game ever.

However, five straight losses mean that the Stars will have to figure out a way to make the team work without Park to be able to keep their chance at defending the title. 토토

On the other end of the standings, the Asan Woori Bank Woori Won are looking like the team to beat as they are on a nine-match winning streak.

Having only lost one match against the Samsung Life Blueminx, Woori Bank are on top of the standings with 12 wins, three ahead of runners-up BNK Sum.

Bae Hye-yoon of the Blueminx who has played 10 of the 13 matches so far has the most points in the league, having scored 20.20 points while Kim Dan-bi of Woori Bank who played all 13 of the club’s matches follows closely behind with 19.23 points. Kim Sonia of Shinhan Bank S-Birds is third with 18.77 points.

The WKBL continues Wednesday when No. 3 Samsung Life Blueminx face No. 2 Busan BNK Sum. The two clubs will battle it out for second place in the standings.

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