It was a perfect weekend for recently crowned WBBL Coach of the Month Len Busch and the Sevenoaks Suns as they recorded two victories extending their unbeaten run to nine games keeping them at the summit of the WBBL Championship table.
The double header began with a home matchup against the Cardiff Met Archers, in which they defeated their opponents 73-54, led by the scoring of guards Catherine Carr and Frankie Wurtz. It was an efficient display from the duo as they finished with 14 points each on a combined 52% shooting from the field.
Cardiff came into this game in the midst of a five game losing streak and placed 11th in the standings, and the gap between the two sides was evident as the Suns dominated from tip-off. They took a quick 14-4 lead in the first five minutes, with early buckets from Carr, Wurtz and Jamila Thompson setting the pace. Taking a 22-8 lead into the second quarter, Sevenoaks’ domination only increased as they extended that lead to 40-21 at the half. An explosive start to the third saw the margin reach as many as 34 points.
Boasting the league’s best defence, it was clear to see why as Cardiff were held to only 29 points through three quarters. They ultimately ended the game shooting just 30% which remarkably is still marginally higher than the Suns’ season average of field goal percentage allowed of 29%. The defence was spearheaded by Wurtz’s 4 steals, which completed her well-rounded stat line with 5 rebounds and 2 assists adding to her 14 points.
Despite the Archers leading in points from turnovers and fast breaks, the Suns’ superior rebounding led to 16 second chance points which was 12 more than the away side. In addition, the Suns’ bench heavily outscored that of the Archers 26-3, led by Janice Monakana’s 12 points.
The Archers tried to mount a comeback, outscoring the Suns 25-14 in the final quarter but ultimately the deficit was too large and they were beaten comfortably.
Sunday’s game against 5th place Manchester Mystics was another dominant victory, as the Suns managed to maintain their unblemished record with an 80-51 victory on the road.
It was the performance of Renee Busch which stole the show as she came off the bench red hot, scoring eight points and went 3-3 from the field in just five first quarter minutes. She ended the first half on 19 points scoring seven of her nine shots, including going 5-6 from the three point line. Ultimately, Busch contributed 22 points on an ultra-efficient 72%.
This game threatened to be a lot closer than the game a day prior with the Mystics keeping themselves close with their three point shooting, missing just two of their seven attempts to close the opening quarter down three.
Sevenoaks Suns have been winning their games by an average of 27 points so most teams would have to execute their game plan almost perfectly to just remain close. However the Mystics endured a difficult quarter of shooting, only scoring 14 points on 12 shots. In contrast, the Suns shot 9-15 from the field, allowing them to open up a 16 point lead at halftime.
It was another close quarter in the third with both sides struggling from the field, but the Suns managed to extend their lead before finishing the game off with a 20-10 score in the final period to win the game by 29 points.
The biggest difference maker proved to be the huge spark off the bench, with Busch and Monakana’s 22 and 13 points respectively contributing to 37 bench points, which was over triple that of the Mystics who only scored 12 through guard Rheanne Bailey. This total added to another big points haul from Frankie Wurtz who provided 18 in 36 minutes.
Following the two victories, Coach Len Busch looked back on what was a thoroughly successful weekend.
‘It was a long weekend, nice home win yesterday. We were pretty good for three quarters, had some things to work on. I thought we improved a bit today, shot the ball well and had nice games from Renee, Frankie and Jan.’
He was dealt a blow, however, when star player Cat Carr was forced to exit halfway through the second quarter, but lauded the team’s effort in her absence.
‘I was very proud of the group when Cat went out with her sprained ankle. They regrouped and didn’t miss a beat and kept playing until the end. It’s good to get through the weekend and we’re looking forward to a week off to work on a few things.’
The Suns don’t play again until the 19th December, when they will face 4th place Leicester Riders at home, as they bid to keep their impressive unbeaten streak intact.
Author: Angelia Ronayne