Third straight win for Rebel women away to Nottingham
The Essex Rebels Women’s basketball team took to the road this past weekend to face the Nottingham Wildcats in a mid-table clash. Once again, the Rebels were shorthanded due to ongoing injuries plaguing Tia Freeman and Megan Haines, but a gritty performance allowed them to return to Essex with a big win and jump Nottingham in the league standings.
The first quarter was all Rebels as the team jumped out to a 23-12 lead behind a balanced scoring attack from the starting five. However, momentum slowed on the offensive end for the Rebels in the first five minutes of the second quarter and Nottingham were able to mount a 10-0 run themselves behind the post play of Kennedy Nicholas. The run for Nottingham was supported by numerous and-1 calls, causing foul trouble for the Rebels post players and sending Sune Swart and Alexa Naessens to the bench. Fortunately, the Rebels were able to regain some footing in the final few minutes of the first half, as Claire Paxton and Daniela Turner took turns making valuable shots, which included a last second foul on Daniela in the act of shooting a 3-pointer, resulting in 2 of the 3 foul shots converted and sending the Rebels into the locker room up 38-33.
Claire Paxton got things going for the Rebels to start the second half with a strong take to the hoop, followed by Ashleigh Munns making a steal and assisting Daniela Turner on a lay-up. An ankle breaker take by Jade Mbam helped extend the Rebels lead to 11 points with 3 and a half minutes remaining, while the Rebels defense held Nottingham to six points in the first seven minutes of play. Andrea Kohlhaas hit her third 3-pointer of the game late in the quarter to give the Rebels their biggest lead of the game at 15-points, as first-year Cameron Taylor-Willis protected the basket with a monster block in the ensuing defensive possession, as the Rebels entered the final ten minutes. Sune Swart knocked down a three to start the quarter, but the Wildcats responded with a quick lay-up of their own. The next few minutes saw the Rebels struggle to convert some easy shot attempts, with additional turnovers allowing Nottingham to stay within reach. Fortunately, the Wildcats encountered struggles of their own on the offensive end, committing costly turnovers that benefited the Rebels. With just four minutes to go, Daniela Turner continued to have herself a game, scoring two back-to-back pull up jump shots, followed by Sune Swart finishing a strong drop step lay-up to put the Rebels up 18. The final minute saw Nottingham scramble to get anything going, leading to some sloppy play by the Rebels, but the lead they had managed to notch proved too much for the home team, as the Rebels captured their 3rd straight league win with a final score of 65-50.
After the team’s win, Head Coach Tom Sadler had this to say, “I thought that this was one of our best all-round team performances. Everyone contributed in different ways, we followed the game plan on the defensive end which disrupted Nottingham, and we shared the ball well. Daniela had another strong offensive performance, but I have to give credit to Jade and Cameron who really stepped up today and helped us when they were in. We’ve got a run of games now against some really strong teams and I think if we can play like we did today and clean up a few things over the next few weeks we could see some great results.”
The Rebels return to action next weekend as they take a short trip to Oaklands Wolves before returning home to face consistent WBBL top of the table teams: Sevenoaks Suns on December 10th and Sheffield Hatters on December 17th. Tickets for both games can be purchased online or on the day at the Essex Sports Arena.
Top Performers –
*Daniela Turner – 23 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals
*Claire Paxton – 12 points, 11 rebounds
*Sune Swart – 11 points, 6 rebounds
*Andrea Kohlhaas – 9 points, 8 rebounds
*Kennedy Nicholas – 23 points, 12 rebounds
*Kayla Shaw – 11 points, 3 steals