Kim Dan-bi (33-Woori Bank), who has been the “ace” of South Korea’s women’s basketball team, put on a spectacular finale by leading her team to victory in their final game at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games.
Kim scored 21 points and grabbed six rebounds along with Park Ji-soo (KB-25 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists) to lead South Korea to a 93-63 victory in the bronze medal game against North Korea at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium in Hangzhou, China on Friday.
Kim Dan-bi, who announced her retirement from the national team after the tournament, played her role as a signature player until the final game.
After scoring just two points in the first half, Kim exploded for 13 points in the third quarter alone, including three three-pointers. This allowed South Korea to score a whopping 19 straight points after trailing 42-42 early in the third quarter to secure the victory and take pride in the bronze medal.
Kim’s eyes were moist after burning her “last flame.
“I didn’t cry,” he said at first, “but it was because the kids next to me kept saying, ‘You’re crying,’ and I didn’t know why they were crying,” he added.
“But at the end, (Lee) said that my sister and I were the last ones, and our teammates left us pictures, so I cried a little bit,” he laughed.
“In the first half, our offense wasn’t working too well, and when we took shots, they didn’t go in. “I told the players, ‘It didn’t go in in the first half, so it will go in in the second half. Let’s shoot again,’ and once one started going in, it was a confidence booster and it was like the floodgates opened,” he said.
“I think today’s game will be in the ‘top three’ of my national team games,” he said, adding, “I think it’s a little more special for Korea because our last game was against North Korea.”
Kim also made waves after the semifinal loss to Japan on March 3, when she gave an interview in which she called for the stagnant Korean women’s basketball program to be overtaken by Japan.
“After that interview, I thought, ‘Maybe I was being too bold,’ but people around me said I did a good job. I thought, ‘Someone has to say something like that,’ so I said, ‘I’m going to do it. It’s not just for the current players, but for the whole of women’s basketball,” she said, encouraging the juniors to work harder and hopefully win a gold medal next time instead of a bronze.
When asked, “Are you really leaving now?” Kim Dan-bi said, “I can’t play anymore, it’s too hard,” and left with a smile.
Lee Kyung-eun (36-Shinhan Bank), another veteran of the national team, also said goodbye to the Taegeuk Mark after this match.
At the official post-match press conference, Lee said, “I’ve been back for about eight years, and I’m grateful to the coach for letting me be here. I had some regrets at the end of each match, but it was a happy time because I won the beauty of Yujong,” she cried.
Lee’s words brought tears to the eyes of Korean national team coach Chung Sun-min, who was sitting next to her.
“I’m grateful to the players for achieving the beauty of Yujong,” said Chung, whose contract ends after the Asian Games. “I think it’s something the new coach will have to think about after the veterans retire.”
Park Ji-soo (KB), the ‘pillar’ of the national team, said, “It’s too bad that my sisters are retiring. We cried together, telling each other not to cry. I want to say thank you for your hard work.” “Now I have to work with the younger players, but I think the future is the problem.” 스포츠토토