The WBBL’s November awards are split between the current league leaders and the league’s leading scorer as Len Busch and Brooklyn Pannell gain recognition for their efforts in recent weeks.
Busch, Head Coach of the table-topping Sevenoaks Suns, picks up the Molten WBBL Coach of the Month award after his team went a perfect 3-0 in November, sweeping their opponents aside with three huge wins, two of which were on long road trips, as they averaged 77 points scored and just 42 conceded.
Suns asserted their dominance early on in all of those games, conceding an average of just nine points in first quarters, and were pushed hardest on their longest road trip of the season at Caledonia Pride, where they led by just two shots heading into the fourth quarter, before winning the final ten minutes 23-9.
Most recently, they scored a big 85-44 road win at Gloucester City Queens, who had started the season on fine form, as Cat Carr posted a near triple-double of nine points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists; while Frankie Wurtz had 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Their continued defensive prowess will please Busch, who has built much of his team’s success at that end of the floor, and they are currently the league’s best defence as the only team averaging under 50 points conceded per game (47.3), having held opponents below that mark five times this season, while restricting them to a stifling 29% shooting from the field. Sevenoaks also lead the league in blocked shots (4.1) and are second in rebounding (49.9 per game).
It had been a difficult start to the season for Suns as they were knocked out of the WBBL Cup early on, but they have bounced back in defence of the WBBL Championship title that they have won three times in a row, and are currently back atop the league on a perfect 7-0 record. Busch won the Molten WBBL Coach of the Season award last year, for the fourth time in a row.
Continuity in his roster has been a key part of that, with recruitment again proving key for Busch as he returned Molten WBBL Player of the Season Cat Carr, alongside Judit Fritz, Julia Koppl, Renee Busch and Janice Monakana. He also added big pieces this season, with the return of Jamila Thompson to the WBBL, who has proved versatile and been a defensive rock with averages of seven points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks per game; with American guard Frankie Wurtz another new addition, putting up nine points, five rebounds and four assists.
Suns face some big games in December as they look to hold off teams with top four aspirations, facing a road trip to Manchester Met Mystics on the second leg of a double-header this weekend, and hosting Leicester Riders before Christmas – those two teams currently sit joint-fourth.
Meanwhile, Nottingham Wildcats’ American point guard Brooklyn Pannell wins the Molten WBBL Player of the Month award for November, having averaged a huge 25 points per game in their three contests, along with five steals, five rebounds and three assists, while shooting 39% from three-point range.
The 23-year-old native of Columbus, Ohio, is in her first season of professional basketball having graduated from the University of Charleston, where she demonstrated her scoring ability with an average of 24 points per game. She currently leads the WBBL overall in scoring, with 20 points per outing, and shows a two-way game as she is fifth in steals, while also demonstrating her importance to the team as the league’s leader in minutes per game (38.1).
Wildcats are currently 2-5 in the WBBL Championship, chasing down a Play-off spot, and got a first win in five games in their last outing of November, 82-76 on the road at Caledonia Pride in a game during which Pannell’s contribution was pivotal. She finished with a professional career-high 32 points, along with six steals, four rebounds and two assists, shooting 11-13 (85%) at the free-throw line as she has proved a handful for many teams so far, overall drawing the tenth most fouls in the league (3.1 per game).
Nottingham trailed for much of that contest with Caledonia, but came storming back to win the fourth quarter 22-8 as Pannell scored eight points in that spell including the go-ahead basket inside the final two minutes, along with a pair of earlier steals that both led to key scores.
It was a much-deserved win for the team, as they had previously lost two tight games in the month to Manchester Met Mystics and Newcastle Eagles, Pannell scoring more than 20 points in both of those as she continues a run of having scored in double-figures in every game this season.
Pannell and the Wildcats also face a big double-header weekend as they first play Gloucester City Queens where a win will see them jump up into the Play-off places, before a trip to the unbeaten London Lions.
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