Web Editorial Associate
After playing her whole career in the Women’s Chinese Basketball Association, Shao Ting is getting her shot in the WNBA.
Ting, a native of China, signed as a training camp member with the Minnesota Lynx on April 18.
“I’m very excited.” Ting said via a translator. “Everybody is very happy to see me and I’m very excited to come. . . I’ve been in America before with the national team.”
Ting, a 27-year-old forward who played for the Beijing Great Wall in the WCBA for the past four seasons, made the 15-hour plane trip to Minneapolis, arriving last Friday in preparation for training camp.
“She is fun to be around. She smiled a lot. She was probably a little bit nervous, but her English is good. . . We have such a great group of veterans that help the process,” Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said. “I thought Ting had a good time doing what she was doing.
“I think the primary interest is that we have a new minority owner in our franchise (Lizhang Jiang) that is from China. We thought it would be great to have the collaboration to kind of merge China and the WNBA,” Reeve said. “China is very passionate about their women’s league and they are very interested in the WNBA.”
Along with playing in the WCBA, Ting was a captain on the Chinese National Team, making her Olympic debut last summer in Rio de Janeiro. With the national team, she averaged 9.6 points and 2.6 rebounds per game in five games.
Ting is also familiar with playing alongside and against WNBA players, having faced numerous WNBA stars while on the Chinese National Team and also playing with some WNBA players in the WCBA, most notably Lynx center Sylvia Fowles.
This offseason, Ting and Fowles helped lead Beijing to its second straight WCBA title. Shao averaged 12.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists, finishing the year as the team’s second-leading scorer behind Fowles.
“Sylvia used to play in Beijing with me before and I think United States players are very passionate,” Ting said via her translator. “Sylvia’s passion helped her teammates and helped her team win the championship in the WCBA in China.”
Ting is excited to be able to get a chance to prove herself among some of the best in the WNBA. And she doesn’t just think she’s playing against basketball stars, but is one of them.
“I’m very honored to be here to represent Chinese women’s basketball team,” she said. “I’m so happy to come here and to train with so many stars. . . I think I’m a star, too.”