Essex Rebels advance to WBBL Cup Semi Finals with win over Durham Palatinates
The Essex Rebels Women’s basketball team took on Durham Palatinates this weekend in a quarterfinal cup match-up. Despite missing key players for the game due to injury, the Rebels managed to capture a win and head onto the Cup semi-finals for the first time in team history.
Sune Swart got the Rebels on the board first, with what is becoming her trademark put back lay-up, but Durham quickly responded with a 3 of their own. A three from Claire Paxton and a steal and lay-up from Daniela Turner helped shift momentum in the Rebels favour, leading to three straight threes from Ashleigh Munns and Claire Paxton and giving the Rebels a 13 point lead five minutes into the game. However, Durham had a six point answer in return before the quarter ended 21-11 with the Rebels still ahead.
Durham picked up where they left off to start the second quarter, going on a 9-3 run to close the gap in the first four minutes. Foul trouble for the Rebels saw Sune and Daniella return to the bench early and the home team’s lead shrinking. The foul count finished 8 fouls on the Rebels to just one foul on Durham for the quarter, and this, combined with a scoring drought, turnovers, and getting out-rebounded 30-16 left the Rebels only up by 4 heading into the half.
The tide turned quickly though, as a 13-0 run for the Rebels to start the second half helped them establish a strong lead once more, with Durham’s first points not coming until six and a half minutes had passed. Despite a small run from Durham, another 3 pointer from Claire allowed the Rebels to enter the final ten minutes of the game up by 17.
Claire and Ashleigh continued to have a strong shooting performance, scoring the first 5 points of the fourth quarter. Additionally, Sune and Daniella continued to give the Rebels a spark on the offensive end, as Durham struggled to find any rhythm of their own. It was however the foul calls on the Rebels that allowed Durham to chip away at the score once more, cutting the Rebels lead to 9 with two minutes remaining. Fortunately for the Rebels, Durham struggled from the line and despite taking 29 foul shots, only made 16. An and-1 by Sune and a three from Ashleigh helped seal the deal, as the Rebels moved onto the cup semifinal with a final score of 69-56.
After the game, head coach Tom Sadler had this to say, “We had some great individual performances on the offensive end today, particularly from Claire, Ash, and Daniella. Even though we were down a couple of players, it was a great team win and continues to show the improvements we are making every week. It’s also great to be in the club’s first ever semi-final and shows the progression we’ve continually made over the past few years. There are still things we need to work on and sharpen up, but I’m happy with the direction we are headed at the moment”.
The Rebels return to Championship play next weekend as they travel to Nottingham to take on the Wildcats, followed by another away game at Oaklands Wolves. The Rebels return to the Essex Sports Arena on December 10th and 17th, with their cup semi-final taking place on December 18th(location and time TBD).
*Claire Paxton – 17 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals
*Ashleigh Munns – 17 points, 7 assists, 5 steals
*Daniella Turner – 17 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists
*Sune Swart – 13 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists
*J. Wayne – 18 points, 14 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals
*E. Hendershot – 8 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals
*I. Bautista – 13 points
*K. Elderkin – 10 points, 5 rebounds