Suns edge out Rebels bringing month long winning streak to a close
The Essex Rebels Women’s basketball team returned home after a stint of road games to face perennial top of the table Sevenoaks Suns. Unfortunately, the Rebels were never able to find their footing throughout the game and despite a last quarter surge that brought the score close, they ended their month long win streak with a final score loss of 78-74.
The Suns got off to a fast start scoring 5 straight points before Claire Paxton put the Rebels on the board with a 3-pointer. However, despite being on the Rebels home court, it was the visitors who just couldn’t seem to miss as they scored 18 points in just over 5 minutes of game play before a quick timeout seemingly renewed the Rebels. This run was led by Claire Paxton who scored 10 straight points, but it wasn’t enough to slow the Suns who were firing on all cylinders and entered the second quarter leading the Rebels 29-19. It was the Rebels defence that continued to be exposed by the Suns in the second, with almost every player on the floor for the visitors contributing to their team’s growing score line. These contributions included four of the five starters for Sevenoaks reaching double digit scoring, and seven 3-pointers on 58% shooting from behind the arc being the offensive dagger. The half ended with the Rebels facing a large deficit of 17 points.
Daniella Turner, Ashleigh Munns, and Sune Swart got things started for the Rebels offensively in the second half helping the home team chip away at the Suns lead. The visitors, however, seemed to have an answer every time, going on an 10-0 run towards the end of the quarter that left the Rebels looking defeated. In a complete turn of the game, an 8-1 spurt by the Rebels to start the fourth quarter helped reduce the points difference down to 12, and then a 3-pointer from Sune Swart helped the Rebels get to within 9 points with 1 minute remaining. The last minute was a scramble, as Claire Paxton was sent to the line making her first and Ashleigh Munns rebounding the second to get the Rebels to within 6. After a long defensive possession, the Rebels gained possession off an airball and Claire Paxton hit a mid-range jumper to make it a four point game with 16 seconds remaining. In the ensuing possession, a drive to the basket got Megan Haines to the foul line, but after converting just one of two attempts the last quarter push for the Rebels ended in a loss, with a final score of 78-74.
After the performance Head Coach Tom Sadler had this to say, “Except for the final two minutes of the game, we just didn’t play well today on either end of the floor. We missed some easy shots, including seven foul shots. Defensively we looked passive for 38-minutes and at times lost, allowing Sevenoaks to get whatever they wanted. We showed some determination to claw back in the fourth, but after playing great basketball the last month and a half it was a surprise to see this type of performance. We’ve now got to turn our sights to a real chance to finish out the year on a positive note if we can bounce back and advance to our first ever WBBL final.”
The Rebels need to regroup quickly, as they have a busy upcoming weekend before the Christmas break, which will see them face Sheffield at home on Saturday and take to the road for their Cup Semi-final clash with the Leicester Riders on Sunday.
Essex Rebels –
*Sune Swart – 21 points, 14 rebounds, 2 steals
*Claire Paxton – 21 points, 2 blocks
*Daniella Turner – 11 points, 7 assists
Sevenoaks Suns –
*J. Koppl – 21 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals
*A. Bradshaw – 19 points, 16 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals
*R. Busch – 13 points, 4 assists
*J. Monakana – 13 points, 6 rebounds