China's Shao Ting getting acclimated to Lynx and hoping to make roster
MINNEAPOLIS -- Shao Ting described herself as excited and nervous as Lynx training camp opened Sunday.This is the first taste of the WNBA for the 6-foot forward from China, though Shao has played with and against WNBA competition before as captai...
MINNEAPOLIS - Shao Ting described herself as excited and nervous as Lynx training camp opened Sunday.
This is the first taste of the WNBA for the 6-foot forward from China, though Shao has played with and against WNBA competition before as captain of the Chinese national team that lost to the U.S. in the group stage of the 2016 Rio Olympics.
She also has played against Lynx forward Maya Moore in China, and was a teammate of Lynx center Sylvia Fowles on a Beijing team that has won the past two Women's Chinese Basketball Association titles. Fowles led Beijing in scoring, but Shao, 27, averaged 12.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists while shooting 55 percent from the field.
Still, this is something entirely different. Shao, who arrived in Minnesota days before the start of training camp, has to adjust to a time difference, Western culture and the highest level of competition the world has to offer. That's a lot to take in.
But she seems to be going about it with the proper demeanor.
"She was fun to be around. She smiled a lot," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said after the first day of training camp Sunday. "Was probably a little bit nervous, but her energy is good and I said it was really important that we communicate, and even if it's in Chinese, that's OK, just communicate.
"We have such a great group of veterans that help the process, but I thought Ting had a good time doing what she was doing, and she'll get comfortable each day as it goes."
Shao, who signed with the Lynx last week, faces an uphill battle to earn a roster spot in training camp but recognizes this as an opportunity to display the level of women's basketball in China.
"This is a league that the best of the best of the world want to play in," Moore said, "so for her to have the opportunity to be here to prove herself, to run with the best, I'm excited for her and I know she's excited to be here."
And while this will be a major adjustment, it took Shao just minutes to get comfortable in her first WNBA media availability. A translator was used to answer the first couple of questions before Shao was asked whether Fowles taught her any English while the two were playing China.
"I can speak English," she said. "I'm just a little nervous, because I never speak English in China, just to talk to Syl."
Shao then expressed her excitement to be in camp and "train with so many stars."
Is it a little intimidating to practice with such a star-studded roster?
"No," Shao said, "I think I'm a star, too."
The Lynx will play their home games this season at Xcel Energy Center while Target Center is remodeled.
The Pioneer Press is a Forum News Service media partner.