Sevenoaks Suns bounced back from their WBBL Trophy final defeat with one win from two from the weekend’s double header.
Friday saw a rematch between the two trophy finalists with the London Lions once again coming on top in a narrow 67-58 victory. On Saturday, the Suns travelled to Cardiff to face the Met Archers in which they responded in dominant fashion, beating their opponents 85-61.
After suffering their first defeat of the League campaign, the Suns drop to second in the Championship standings, with a still impressive record of 15-1 only bettered by the Lions who remain unbeaten.
The first game of the double header was a much closer affair than the meeting between the sides just five days prior. The opening quarter was very low scoring, with both teams showing off their impressive defensive prowess to limit each other’s usually free scoring offense. It was an 11-8 score in favour of the Lions going into the second period.
However, offense took over as the scoring vastly increased for the rest of the game. It remained close throughout with just a couple of points separating the two after each quarter. The Suns did well to keep close but found themselves down five points at half time.
An 0/6 start to third quarter allowed the Lions to open up a 13 point lead, their largest of the game, and this was perhaps the stretch which took the game away from the Suns. Despite this though, they quickly made an 11-0 run to cut the deficit back to two points with 3 and a half minutes left of the period. But trips to the free throw line meant their opponents’ lead stayed intact, stretching their advantage back to six going into the final 10 minutes.
It was a valiant effort to try and get back into the game but ultimately the Suns couldn’t cut into the lead and fell by 9 points, however there was plenty to be encouraged about.
Guard Frankie Wurtz led the scoring with 17 points, as well as adding 12 rebounds. Cat Carr scored 11 whilst Janice Monakana once again contributed greatly off the bench, scoring 15.
The team’s two game losing streak was quickly over with an excellent response against the Cardiff Met Archers. Carr’s whopping 24 points helped the team towards a 24-point win. Her well rounded stat line also included six rebounds and six assists.
It was a tight opening quarter with both teams aggressive early. With a slender 5 point lead, the Suns did what they did best and took the game away from their opponents early in the second with a 15-1 run opening a large gap. Within that came 8 points from Carr, and a showcasing of why they are the best defense in the league, restricting the Archers to no field goals for six and a half minutes. This stretch of play extended the lead to 19.
Another run at the beginning of the second half truly put the game out of reach as the lead reached 25 points. This allowed for a very comfortable ending as the Suns closed the game with two 20-plus point quarters to run away with a dominant victory.
As well as Carr’s game-high 24 points, Wurtz continued her good form from the day before, scoring 18 points, whilst Monakana added 15 for the second game in a row.
Following Saturday’s win, coach Len Busch and Frankie Wurtz gave their thoughts on what was a mixed couple of days for the Suns.
Busch reflected, ‘This was a big weekend for us, we had a rematch with the Lions after a difficult game in the Trophy where we struggled against them.
‘We made some adjustments and showed that we can compete with them. We were in this game, we had great effort from Frankie Wurtz offensively and as a team we played much better defense and I think we slid to a 9 point loss but I think we all feel we can compete with the Lions now.
‘Saturday we followed up the Lions game with a trip to Cardiff and we continued with our aggressive, assertive, style of play and I thought we did an excellent job.
‘Everybody was more aggressive from the very beginning of the game and we got a rather comfortable win. We’re excited, Frankie Wurtz again asserted herself offensively, Cat does what Cat always does, helped us on all sides.
‘We took the steps we needed to take to be in position to challenge the Lions for the top of the WBBL.’
Wurtz added, (On the Lions) ‘It wasn’t the outcome we wanted, but I thought we did a good job of bouncing back after the Trophy Final last weekend. We made a good comeback in the second half but the Lions did a good job of answering our runs. We improved in a lot of areas from the last game and we just have to keep building on that.
‘Today (Cardiff) we had a lot of different people contribute and it was good for us to bounce back and get a win and keep going in the right direction.’
The Suns will now look to continue their momentum and begin a new winning streak at home against Caledonia Pride this Saturday.
Author: Angelia Ronayne