Suns Joint-Top as Mystics, Rebels and Eagles Win

WBBL Championship
Caledonia Pride 53-74 Sevenoaks Suns (11-16, 30-36, 44-51)

(Pride – Ranger 16, Harvey 11, Phillips 7; Suns – Fritz 16, Carr 15, Koppl 15)

WBBL Championship
Durham Palatinates 58-81 Essex Rebels (15-23, 26-41, 43-64)

(Palatinates – Hendershot 21, Hurtado Barbeito 12, Natufe 9; Rebels – Costa 18, Kohlhaas 15, Munns 11)

WBBL Championship
Manchester Met Mystics 84-79 Nottingham Wildcats (21-20, 42-31, 63-66)

(Mystics – Bailey 25, Jones 24, Williams 15; Wildcats – Pannell 23, Nicolas 16, Gyles 16)

WBBL Championship
Newcastle Eagles 80-45 Cardiff Met Archers (20-13, 36-28, 53-34)

(Eagles – Horton 25, Fernandez Pardo 14, Lowe 11; Archers – Hatch 20, Bunyan 12, Kheing 5)

Sevenoaks Suns will head into the international break joint-top of the WBBL Championship table as one of three teams with an unbeaten record, as Manchester Met Mystics moved into the top four along with wins for Essex Rebels and Newcastle Eagles on a busy Saturday.

Sevenoaks joined London Lions and Sheffield Hatters on 5-0 at the summit of the WBBL Championship, after using a huge fourth quarter to pull away from Caledonia Pride in a previously tight game, winning 74-53 as Cat Carr posted her sixth double-double in seven games and Julia Koppl scored her 500th WBBL point in a great overall showing of 15 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three blocks.

It was just a one-point game midway through the third quarter when Suns – currently the best defence in the WBBL – held their hosts scoreless for four minutes while Carr scored consecutively in a 9-0 spell that pushed the lead out to 49-39.

Pride got back to within two shots, but Suns saw the game out with a big 17-2 surge in the decisive fourth quarter, as Koppl scored six and Judit Fritz hit five of her game-high 16 points, on 7-9 (77%) shooting, sending the lead through twenty points at 72-49.

Meanwhile, Mystics made it three home wins in a row, and moved to 4-2 in the WBBL Championship to jump into the top four, as British stalwarts Rheanne Bailey (25) and Georgia Jones (24) combined for nearly half a century to see off a second half fightback from Nottingham Wildcats, prevailing 84-79.

A big 12-2 run to end the first quarter, in which Jones was involved in every basket with six points and two assists, and another burst to end the second saw Mystics up double-figures at the halfway point; but their visitors poured in 35 third quarter points, Jahnae Gyles hitting a trio of three-pointers, to give Wildcats a lead that they held into the final five minutes.

Mystics responded well to that onslaught, correcting their mistakes and holding Nottingham to just 13 points in the fourth quarter, and they emerged from a timeout to hit a 12-2 surge in which Bailey scored eight points, while Jones made the score that put them up for good at 78-77 with a minute and a half to play, as Vanessa Akra and Erika Williams came up with key late steals to put an exclamation mark on that late defensive clampdown.

Elsewhere, Essex Rebels made it back-to-back wins in the WBBL Championship, after a winless start in all competitions, by over-powering Durham Palatinates 81-58 on the road, behind a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds from Lucrezia Costa, while Claire Paxton came from the bench for a near triple-double of 11 points, 11 boards and seven assists.

Rebels established a lead early on as an Ashleigh Munns three-pointer sparked an 11-4 run that Paxton capped with a triple of her own, helping the score to 21-13 towards the end of the opening period.

It was into double-figures by the half at 41-26 when Andrea Kohlhaas hit a triple to beat the halftime buzzer, closing out a 10-0 tear in the final three minutes; and there was no way back for the hosts when Kohlhaas hit another three to initiate a 15-4 run early in the third quarter, sending the lead through 20 points as Munns added another pair from beyond the arc to condemn Durham to a fifth straight home defeat.

Finally, Newcastle Eagles moved to 2-4 in league play with an 80-45 win over Cardiff Met Archers at Vertu Motors Arena, recording back-to-back wins for the first time in this campaign.

The hosts were fast out of the blocks and led from tip-to-buzzer after a 9-0 start as Eagles – another top five defence in the WBBL – held their visitors scoreless for the opening five minutes, Ebony Horton scoring six early points as she had 16 in the first half.

That included a basket with the final possession of the second stanza, and the lead was double-figures when Eagles added the first two baskets after the break in what became a 13-4 start to the second half as Rachael Bland hit a three-pointer for 49-32.

Holding Archers to just six points in the third quarter in Newcastle’s best defensive performance of the season, it was enough to settle the game as Horton finished on 25 points and nine rebounds.