Park Ji-hyun and Lee So-hee, the future of Korean women’s basketball, teamed up at WKBL Rising Star.
Park Ji-hyeon (Woori Bank) and Lee So-hee (BNK), who faced each other in the Shinhan Bank SOL 2022-2023 Women’s Professional Basketball Championship Final last month, became a team with WKBL Rising Stars made up of players under the age of 25 and played against WJBL All-Star United in Tokyo, Japan on the 29th. fought a one-on-one battle.
In the confrontation, the rising star team lost 84-89, but Park Ji-hyun was awarded the MIP for his outstanding performances with 25 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists, the highest score among both teams. Lee So-hee contributed to Rising Star’s promotion with 9 points and 3 assists.ㅋㅋㅋ벳
Born in 2000, they are the same age, and even at a young age, they played as aces in each team and formed a rivalry throughout the season. How do you feel about playing on the same team?
Prior to the showdown between W League All-Star United held at Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan on the 30th, the two participated in events such as a 3-point shooting contest and a dance performance, and showed off their special relationship by making hearts with each other.
Regarding the All-Star Korea-Japan match, Lee So-hee said, “(Park) Ji-hyun plays a lot in the national team, so he has his own role, but I’m the youngest and I didn’t have time to play together.”
Park Ji-hyun said, “I’ve always been with (Lee) Sohee in the national team for each age group, so it’s just comfortable.”
The two are comrades who led the record to ninth place at the 2019 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup, where they competed together as the U19 national team in 2019. The U19 national team drew attention by beating Hungary, who was second in the European U19 women’s basketball ranking at the time, in the ranking match.
A fond memory of that time is the string that ties the two players together. Park Ji-hyun recalled that time, saying, “I can’t forget that time because the grades were good and the atmosphere was good.” At the same time, she said, “In fact, even the day before the Rising Star team was called up, I went to play with the players who played then, the manager, and the coach and played a game.” Then, he smiled broadly, saying, “We also decided on the slogan, U19 Forever.”
Still, both shook their heads when asked if they did not feel a sense of rivalry as players of the opposing team, who fought a bloody battle until the end of the season. Lee So-hee said, “There are a lot of things to learn, but I don’t think I have to do well because I’m stimulated or a rival,” adding, “We have very different positions.” Lee So-hee and Park Ji-hyun are classified as guards, but their actual roles are shooters and all-weather forwards, respectively, and the way they play the game is different.
Park Ji-hyun said, “I think it’s a really unnecessary emotion to be stimulated by others doing well. She thought that when Sohee did well, she wanted to applaud her, so she even sent a text message after the championship match was over.”
Lee So-hee said, “I only sent a short reply saying ‘thank you’, but at that time, I was really grateful.” Lee So-hee’s team, Busan BNK Some, reached her first championship match after its foundation, but failed to win a single victory and lost the championship to Asan Woori Bank. Lee So-hee said, “I even thought about what more I could do, but when I saw the text sent by Ji Hyun-yi and how KBL Goyang Carrot was doing well even in difficult circumstances, the feeling I felt was luxury, and she took her heart again. ” she said.
Both players agreed that the most important thing is to overcome one’s own weaknesses in order to develop to the next level. Park Ji-hyun said that she wanted to learn the detailed play of Kim Dan-bi, who was a team senior and won MVP in the regular league and championship match. He said, “My sister has a good ability to take away the pass when the opponent’s defense comes in, and I think if she does well, she will be able to play better.” Lee So-hee pointed out, “To steal the timing of the opponent’s defense, you have to pretend to break through and then stop and increase the success rate of the jumper.”
Park Ji-hyun and Lee So-hee, who are expected to become the main players of the national team in the future, were also named in the final 12 entries for the 2023 FIBA Women’s Asia Cup in Australia in June. Park Ji-hyun said, “We have to play more on the international stage so that the popularity of women’s basketball will increase,” and said, “I will do my best to win even one more game without focusing on participating.”