WSBL to open new season January 10

Chinese Taipei Basketball Association (CTBA) announced that the Women’s Super Basketball League (WSBL) will open its 2011 season on January 10 and, for the first time in 10 years, as many as six teams will compete in the highest level of Taiwanese women’s basketball.

The participating teams of the new season will be the defending champion Taiyuan Textile, Taipower, Chunghwa Telecom, Fo Guang, the expansion team Applause Red Devils and Cathay Life, which returns to the league after a one-year hiatus.

Taiyuan and Cathay Life were favored to meet in the Finals.

Cathay Life, which had won 17 straight titles in Taiwanese women’s league, withdrew from the 2010 WSBL season over what it claimed was a violation by Chunghwa Telecom in signing Chiang Feng-chun, a former Cathay Life star forward who came out of retirement.

Chiang subsequently finished her one-year contract with Chunghwa Telecom before signing with Zhejiang of the Chinese women’s league WCBA (Women’s Chinese Basketball Association) in October.

The regular season will be played from Jan. 10-March 30 at Taipei Gymnasium, located in downtown Taipei, and Sinjhuang Stadium in nearby Xinbei City. Top four teams in the regular season advance to the playoffs. No. 3 and No. 4 teams meet in the best-of-three bronze medal series while the top two teams meet in the best-of-three WSBL Finals.

Popularity of women’s basketball in Taiwan lagged far behind the men’s competition as the number of teams decreased over the years. According to the CTBA, the last time there were six women’s teams in Taiwan’s top division was in 2001.

The CTBA is still in talks with several companies in order to put the WSBL games on television or the internet.

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