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WCBA update: Han Xu and Jonquel Jones are dominating in China

There’s plenty of WNBA representation in the WCBA. Recent WNBA teammates Han Xu and Jonquel Jones are two of the players leading the way.

2023 Women’s Asia Cup - Day 6
Pictured playing for the Chinese national team in 2023, Han Xu is starring for Sichuan in the WCBA.
Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images

It’s 2024 and the Women’s Chinese Basketball Association is in full swing with just four more weeks of regular season action left. Our previous updates have highlighted the rising number of WNBA players participating in this booming market. But today, we will focus on two players in different stages of their careers: Jonquel Jones and Han Xu of the New York Liberty.

JJ’s star shines in the East

You know her name. You know her game. Jones is a basketball legend; that’s true here in the West and out in the East. In December, she averaged 22.6 points, 13.1 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game for Inner Mongolia.

Jones is well-loved in the States, but that appreciation for her game in China has gone to another level. I mean, look at this birthday celebration for her:

Before her birthday, the team also threw her a surprise Christmas party, which Jones posted on Instagram. “Shoutout to everyone involved,” Jones said on her Instagram post. “They made ah real one shed ah tear man! So much love for these ladies and this organization!”

Seems like the only thing better than Jones’ play is the love her team and fans are giving her. For the WNBA fans, this should result in Jones entering the season in peak condition and form. She’s gotten professional reps and continues to demonstrate why she’s one of the best bigs in the game, all while appearing to enjoy her time in China.

Moment of truth for Han Xu

Xu’s talent is undeniable. Given injuries and the difficulty of transitioning to the WNBA, we haven’t seen it with the Liberty. Last season, she averaged just 1.5 points and 0.9 rebounds in her appearances. Healthy and contributing for Sichuan, Xu is coming into her own.

The leader for a team vying for a title, she’s regularly posting double-digit points and, more importantly, she’s healthy. For Liberty fans (or fans of a team that might sign her in free agency), this means Xu is potentially heading into 2024 the healthiest she’s been in some time, and could be a player New York, or another team, can build with.

Key takeaways

The Liberty fell short of their goals to win it all in 2023, but not by much, losing in the Finals to the Las Vegas Aces. If Jones is ready and Xu can take a step forward, they will have as good a chance as any team to beat the back-to-back champs and bring the title to New York in 2024. If that happens, we could look back at their time in China as the start of that title run.