WUHAN (China) - The FIBA 3x3 Women's Series 2023 started spectacularly with an epic Wuhan Stop on May 6-7.
Here are the main takeaways from the two-day spectacle which saw 3x3 return to hoops-loving China.
China flex their muscle
China have long been a 3x3 women's power as former World Cup and Asia Cup champions.
They won bronze at the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup 2023 in a notable achievement for a team without their superstars Lili Wang and ZhiTing Zhang.
But they were reloaded in Wuhan with Wang and Zhang reuniting as an unstoppable duo to combine for 61 points to lead China to the title on home soil.
China proved why they are such a 3x3 force with an unbeaten run in Wuhan, where they were never seriously challenged - not even by Asia Cup champs Australia in the final.
It was a powerful performance which should serve notice to worried opponents at the upcoming FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2023.
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Lili Wang is a certified bucket getter
It's quite fitting that Lili Wang wears No.23. Because when she's on the half-court, as she's completing a killer move, Wang plays like she's the GOAT.
She's only 5ft. 9in (1.75m), but height is no barrier for Wang who can score on much bigger opponents. Wang had a memorable 2022, highlighted by winning the MVP at the Asia Cup, and she may have even gone up a level after her incredible start to the new season in Wuhan.
Wang finished second in player value (41.4) and highlights (21) to run rings around opponents and steal the show for this 3x3 superstar who is a hero to her massive number of fans.
Australia have an impressive depth of talent
Asia Cup champs Australia were playing in two different locations at the weekend.
While Marena Whittle and Alex Wilson in Eilat were leading the gold and green to a spot at the World Cup 2023, Australia showed off their depth with a commanding run in Wuhan.
They showcased their grit with tough wins in a strong Pool A over No.1 seeds Germany, Mongolia and Japan before they ultimately ran out of gas against China in the final.
Australia unleashed a trio of debutants with Asia Cup gold medallist Lauren Mansfield leading this inexperienced team superbly.
Often overlooked by her star teammates at the Asia Cup, Mansfield hogged the spotlight and made sure everyone watching noticed her insane skills. The sharpshooter poured in 39 points and shot a crazy 55% from two to prove she's a straight out assassin.
Having not played in the Women's Series in recent seasons, Australia returned with a bang and cemented their status as a force in 3x3.
Greinacher remains unstoppable
Towering Sonja Greinacher came into the season as the No.2 ranked player in the world.
But you feel she's determined to get back the crown after her complete domination in Wuhan, where Greinacher finished No.1 in scoring with an insane 48 points in 5 games and she also led player value (47.1).
Greinacher scored everywhere on the half-court, as she feasted in the paint in trademark fashion but also shot at a 40% clip from 2 to prove the 6ft. 3in (1.9m) German is unguardable.
She lacked support though as Germany fell to China in the semis, but Greinacher made an early season statement in her determined bid to sit on the throne.
China's talent riches underlined with Sc. Yuanda's showing
There was double delight for China in Wuhan with new commercial team Sc. Yuanda producing an eye-catching performance to reach the semis.
After losing to China first up, Sc.Yuanda went on a run including a big victory over Asian power Japan in the quarters before falling to Australia in a hard-fought semi-final.
They unearthed more talented Chinese players with Wanglai Zhang quickly becoming a fan favorite with her silky skills helping her finish top in highlights (24).
Impressive 24-year-old Mengyun Zhou also enjoyed a brilliant pro circuit debut with 31 points in 5 games as China's New Gen made their mark in style.
If you didn't know it already, China are a 3x3 machine and 2023 looms as a highly exciting year for their talented women's players.