WBBL: Suns & Lions keep unbeaten runs alive, as Nottingham pick up terrific comeback win

Both Sevenoaks Suns and London Lions kept their unbeaten league records alive on Saturday, whilst Nottingham Wildcats captured a terrific comeback win and Essex picked up a comfortable home victory.

The home side Caledonia managed to maintain a sustainable lead throughout the first two periods of the game, and even extended to as many as 13 points by the time the third period had tipped. However, it was just after the fourth period had tipped that a Nottingham comeback appeared imminent, with the Wildcats cutting the lead to just three in the opening two minutes of the fourth quarter.

Caledonia managed to reply, propping the lead back up to eight points, but Nottingham mounted the pressure and knocked down six unanswered points, now trailing the Pride by just two. The heat was on, and Caledonia started to struggle, missing out on a crucial 9-0 run that likely would’ve handed them the game.

Newly signed Laken James managed to drop a two-point lay-in to give Pride a narrow three point lead with just over two minutes remaining, but that wasn’t enough to hold off a determined Wildcats side, as Kennedy Nicholas, who picked up a double-double of 10 points and 20 rebounds, nailed a turn around jump shot to put Nottingham behind by just one point and crucially threw up two consecutive blocks to deny Caledonia a chance for comeback and finally set up Nottingham to go on a 8-0 run to seal a terrific away victory for the visiting side.

Essex Rebels moved into joint-5th with Leicester Riders following their strong 19-point victory over visitors Cardiff Met Archers.

Backed by a double-double performance from Lucrezia Costa, with 13 points and 11 rebounds, and an additional 11 rebounds from Chloe Paxton and a combined 32 points between Andrea Kohlhaas and DeAngelique Waithe, the Rebels seemed comfortable throughout the contest.

Despite a valiant effort from the Welsh visitors, an Essex victory seemed inevitable as the home side led by as many as 26 points at one point during the fourth and final period, setting up Essex to take home their fourth WBBL league victory and a boost heading into their clash with Leicester Riders on Sunday evening.

London Lions moved into joint 2nd place in the league, with Sheffield Hatters, after they thumped hosts Newcastle Eagles by a whopping 55-points.

Newcastle struggled very early on in the game, not being able to get on the scoreboard until half-way through the first period, and London weren’t likely to let that opportunity go to waste, racking up a 9-0 run within the first three minutes of the game and it wasn’t long before they extended their lead to double digits.

Despite cutting London’s lead down to 13 by the time the second period opened, Newcastle would continue to struggle and London would continue to capitalise, out shooting the Northern side by 33-9 and giving the visitors a 38-point lead by the time the buzzer for the half-time sounded.

Backed by 23 points from Jo Leedham-Warner, 18 points by Kennedy Leonard, and a combined 31 points from Azania Stewart and Cassie Breen, it appeared there was just no stopping the Lions and despite valiant efforts from the likes of Ebony Horton, there was just no denying that London would continue their unbeaten league record and move up to joint 2nd place in the standings.

And in the final game of the day, Sevenoaks Suns managed to also keep alive their unbeaten league run and also move two points clear in first place in the standings.

The new Gloucester franchise opened the game with an impressive run of 7-2 against the reigning WBBL Champions, however it wasn’t long before the Champions managed to reply with their own 10-0 run that put them back in the game.

A confident Queens side managed to cut that lead to just six points coming into the second period, however with Sevenoaks Suns shooting on point, knocking down almost 50% from inside and behind the arc, it seemed like Gloucester’s efforts were futile, as the visitors would take a 22-point lead into half-time and eventually extend that to 30-points by the time the fourth period commenced and by the eventual 41-points by the time the final buzzer sounded.

Reigning league MVP Cat Carr also managed to hit a double-double of 10 rebounds and 12 assists whilst Frankie Wurtz lead her team with 19 points.

Leicester Riders’ Anna Lappenkuper scored an incredible 35 points Sunday afternoon to help her team come from behind to take an important victory in the WBBL Championship away to Essex Rebels.

The home side started the game off well, and won the first two quarters to lead by six at half-time, but the Riders came back strong and bounced back in the second-half, outscoring their opponents by 12.

Lappenkuper was not only in red-hot scoring form, but she was also very efficient as she missed just four of her 16 shots, which included three triples.

Oceana Hamilton was also dominant, as she scored 12 points for the Riders but also grabbed 18 rebounds and made an impressive four blocks.

Despite ending up on the losing side, the Rebels team impressed as all five starters got into double-figures for points, as well as Claire Paxton who put-up ten – while Jade Mbam came close as she contributed nine from off the bench in just nine minutes of game time.