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‘Basketball Moms’ Lead Shinhan to Win

Posted December. 21, 2005 03:00,   


Two “basketball moms,” Jeon Ju-won (33) and Taj McWillams, led Shinhan Bank to a thrilling come-from-behind victory.

Shinhan Bank and Kumho Life were pitted against each other in the opening match of the women’s pro basketball winter league held at Jangchung Gymnasium on December 20. Shinhan Bank, the champion of the summer league, defeated rival powerhouse Kumho Life by five points in a game that ended in a 67-62 final score, owing to the skillful play by guard Jeon Ju-won (10 points and 6 assists) and the under-the-net dominance of center McWilliams (24 points and 25 rebounds).

The two players of the match, Jeon Ju-won and McWilliams, have a lot in common. Jeon Ju-won is the oldest among Korean players in the league, while McWilliams is the oldest among foreign players playing in the league. Jeon Ju-won has a one year old daughter, and McWilliams is a mother of two girls: a 17 year old and a three year old.

Both players maintain their stamina to compete with younger players with strict self control and exercise regimen. Jeon Ju-won plays wisely by saving her strength until the last quarter, where she really shows her stuff on the court. McWilliams keeps daily records of her food intake in her laptop computer and strictly follows a weight training program designed by her personal trainer.

Their common ground has made them close partners, and their combined strength energized the game in the latter half. Trailing behind Kumho Life by a 29-41 score, the tide began to turn for Shinhan Bank when Jeon Ju-won scored a three-pointer in the middle of third quarter and McWilliams followed that up with a succession of two-pointers slicing into Kumho’s lead.

Shinhan kept the momentum by tying the score 62-62 until in the fourth quarter, with three minutes and nine seconds left, Jin Mi-jeong (15 points) scored a three-pointer; and with two minutes 20 seconds remaining, Kang Ji-suk took a rebound from McWilliams and put the last basket of the game into the net.

Despite stunning play from newcomer Lee Jong-ae, who scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the game, the game started going awry for Kumho Life when Trabessa Gant was taken out of the game in first quarter with four fouls, leaving Kumho weak under the net.

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com