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19-Year-Old Rookie Leads Woori to Win

Posted February. 25, 2006 03:05,   


After being picked as the player of the game, Woori Bank’s bashful 19-year-old rookie Lee Gyeong-eun (photo) entered the conference room with her teammate Tamika Catching. Patting Lee on the shoulder, former U.S. WNBA star Catching took a back seat. Lee Gyeong-eun’s play yesterday deserved that much respect. Fresh out of high school this month, Lee contributed greatly to the Woori Bank’s 65-58 upset win over Kumho Life at yesterday’s winter league playoff semi-final held at Hoban Stadium in Chuncheon City.

Marking its third straight win in the regular league yesterday, Woori Bank has but one more win to add towards the championship final. The second round of the semi-final will be held in Guri City on February 26.

Lee played for 17 minutes and 32 seconds and scored six valuable points near the end of the game. Her persistent defense also tied up Kumho’s shooter Kim Gyeong-hee who had scored 10 points by the end of the second quarter. “I have been frustrated by my poor performance during the regular league, so when an opportunity came later in the big match, I did my best,” said Lee.

Tamika Catching played the whole 40 minutes of playtime, scoring 23 points and grabbing 15 rebounds yesterday. Other double digit scorers were Kim Eun-hye who scored 15 points, Kim Yeong-ok who scored 11, and Kim Gye-ryong with 10 points.

Trailing behind Kumho, 29-35, in the second quarter, Woori Bank started catching up when Lee Gyeong-eun was substituted in. The table finally turned early in the fourth quarter, helped by a succession of points scored by Catching and Kim Eun-hye that broke Kumho Life’s 52-53 lead. The result: Woori Bank was eight points ahead of Kumho Life, when two minutes and 58 seconds were left on the clock.

In other news, Kookmin Bank coach Lee Mun-gyu resigned his post as he assumed responsibility for the team’s failure to reach the playoffs.

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com