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Sichuan signals title intent with latest star additions

Team China stars Han Xu (left) and Wu Di (7) have been snapped up by WCBA side Sichuan. [Photo/Xinhua]

Sichuan has completed its transformation into the undisputed super-team of the Women's Chinese Basketball Association (WCBA) with the signings of Chinese internationals Han Xu and Wu Di on Monday.

The double deal follows last week's capture of Team China stars Li Meng and Sun Mengran.

The new arrivals join veterans Shao Ting and Gao Song to make Sichuan a huge title favorite for the forthcoming WCBA season.

"After conducting friendly negotiations, national team players Han Xu and Wu Di have joined Sichuan," read a statement from the club.

Han averaged 14.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks at the 2016 FIBA Under-17 World Championship and was named in the All-Tournament Team. She also led China to the Under-18 Women's Asian Championship title in the same year.

Han first represented the Chinese senior team in 2018, winning the Asian Games gold medal with averages of 14.5 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3 blocks in seven appearances, before participating in the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup in October.

Han registered averages of 9.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in helping China reach the Olympic quarterfinals in Tokyo this summer.

Han was named in the starting lineup for the All-Star Game in her WCBA rookie season in 2018. The New York Liberty selected her with the 14th pick overall in the 2019 WNBA Draft.

Boasting stats of 21.2 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per contest, Han finished as the leading scorer and blocker for the 2020-21 WCBA season. The 21-year-old center has averaged 16.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2 blocks in 74 WCBA matches.

Han averaged 18 points, 7.8 boards and 2.7 blocks in helping Shandong win the women's Under-18 title at the Chinese National Games in 2017. She averaged 34 points, 13 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 5 blocks to help Xinjiang advance to the National Games finals this year.

"Han is an athletic player with great footwork and elite defensive skills, and has showcased her unlimited potential," read the Sichuan statement.

Forward Wu joined the Chinese national team in 2015, becoming the first player to earn such a call-up without playing a single WCBA game. She played in the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.

Wu was a member of the title-winning side at the FIBA 3x3 Women's Basketball World Cup in 2019, which helped China book a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics. She was called up to the national team's training squad early this year.

Wu began her WCBA career with Shanxi in 2016, and was named as a starter for the 2017 All-Star Game. She joined Xinjiang in June 2019, averaging 11.9 points and 3.4 rebounds in 114 league appearances.

"Wu boasts all-round ability and can play in different positions," read Sichuan's statement.