basketball

WBBL Power Rankings 2020-21 edition – Week 3

And then there were four. The WBBL Cup group phase is complete and it’s time for the semi-finals next weekend before the start of the regular season.

Sevenoaks Suns and Leicester Riders remain on a collision course in the Cup after both went through 3-0, while Nottingham Wildcats were dominant on the road and Cardiff Met Archers snuck through without a win on court.

Latest results: WBBL Cup. (North) Mystics 75-101 Wildcats, Eagles 71-96 Riders; (South) Suns 20-0 Wolves, Archers 51-68 Lions, Archers 50-65 Suns

[denotes position from previous week]

➖ 1 [1]: Sevenoaks Suns (3-0*)

Sevenoaks were the only confirmed semi-finalist going into the weekend’s action, but still wanted to lock up top spot in the South and did so by overcoming the challenge of Cardiff on the road. Renee Busch – recently restored into the GB Senior setup – was unstoppable with a perfect 9-of-9 effort for 25 points in the win.

International team-mate Janice Monakana continued her strong start to the season and the Suns maintain their pursuit of more silverware in the WBBL. They will expect a tough challenge at the weekend as Nottingham Wildcats visit with the aim of dethroning Len Busch’s side.

Next game: v Nottingham Wildcats (H) – CUP SF – 5th December

➖ 2 [2]: Leicester Riders (3-0)

Two from two heading into Sunday, but at 69-67 in favour of Newcastle with 6:48 left to play, the Riders’ place in the next round was still uncertain. What followed was a stunning 29-2 close to the game in another statement sent around the league as their crushing defence did more damage.

Holly Winterburn was Holly Winterburn with an 18-9-8 stat-line with Kate Oliver putting up 29 points. Leicester have been the most impressive side so far, but Sevenoaks remain the team to beat and the two could well be on course to meet in January’s final, though they won’t be taking Cardiff lightly this weekend.

Next game: v Cardiff Met Archers (H) – CUP SF – 5th December

⬆️ 3 [4]: Nottingham Wildcats (2-1)

Jasmine Joyner: 37 points, 19 rebounds, 73% shooting.
Chelsey Shumpert: 29 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists.

It’s no surprise seeing the duo putting up those kind of numbers, but it doesn’t mean they should be appreciated any less. The Wildcats did what they needed to with a convincing win on the road against Manchester to book their spot in the semi-finals.

The rest of the team certainly played their part too with key contributions from fellow starters Simone Costa, Tia Freeman and Moa Lundqvist, while Shaniya Rose showed great energy from the bench and had six assists. The Wildcats earn a trip to face Sevenoaks on Saturday and will need another big team performance to secure their spot at any WBBL final.

Next game: v Sevenoaks Suns (A) – CUP SF – 5th November

⬇️ 4 [3]: Newcastle Eagles (1-2)

It was a tough ask for the Eagles, needing to beat an in-form Riders, let alone needing to win by 14+ in order to advance. They made a bright start, leading by six after 10 minutes and were still in the game before being blown away in the final quarter as they were outscored 9-36 as their hopes faded without trace.

Newcastle have had a tough start with injuries but Maddy McVicar and Alison Gorrell have quickly struck up a great accord and Jorjah Smith settled in quickly in a big boost to their threat from the perimeter. Onto the league and the challenge of backing up last season’s strong start to the campaign.

Next game: v Manchester Met Mystics (H) – CH – 12th December

➖ 5 [5]: BA London Lions (1-2*)

What could have been. The forfeited 20-0 results in the group left the Lions needing to win by 21 against Cardiff in order to advance in a possibly three-way tie with Oaklands included. Mark Clark’s side went up 38-62 inside the final six minutes, but were unable to complete the job – eventually only winning by 17.

It was still an impressive display for the Lions and plenty of encouragement to take into the WBBL Championship. Kennedy Leonard starred with 20 points and seven assists, while Chantel Charles added 10 points, 11 rebounds and six steals as the duo showed why they’ve been amongst the GB Senior squad.

Next game: v Essex Rebels (H) – CH – 12th December

➖ 6 [6]: Manchester Met Mystics (0-3)

Disappointing. It was a tough group, but to come out without a win was far from encouraging as Manchester were unable to contain the Shumpert-Joyner show as they conceded 100+ points in a 26-point defeat in their first game at home – having still had a shot at qualifying to the last four pre-game.

Middle ground feels a generous spot for a team that has started 0-3, but no team below them in this list has won either (four haven’t played) and you feel it’s only a matter of time before the Mystics get things going – and now have the league campaign to look forward to with another clash with Newcastle on the horizon.

Next game: v Newcastle Eagles (A) – CH – 12th December

➖ 7 [7]: Oaklands Wolves (1-2*)

Still waiting for their first action on court, the Wolves are scheduled to open their league campaign against Leicester a week on Saturday, with the players desperate to get going after their Cup campaign was completely wiped out due to COVID-19 regulations.

Next game: v Leicester Riders (H) – CH – 12th December

➖ 8 [8]: Cardiff Met Archers (1-2*)

Cardiff finally took to the court this weekend. And, despite suffering back-to-back defeats, they advanced to the semi-finals. 2020. It could have been worse for the Archers as they trailed by as many as 24 points against the Lions before rallying with a pivotal 11-0 run and that was enough, despite falling 51-68.

Stef Collins’ side then had a shot at top spot in the group as they took on reigning champions Sevenoaks, and put in a valiant display before going down by 15. A trip to Leicester awaits for their first-ever Cup semi-final and the chance to make even more history if they pull of a shock result.

Next game: v Leicester Riders (A) – CUP SF – 5th December

➖ N/A: Essex Rebels

(No current ranking due to not participating in the WBBL Cup)

First game: v BA London Lions (A) – CH – 12th December

➖ N/A: Caledonia Pride

(No current ranking due to not participating in the WBBL Cup)

First game: v Oaklands Wolves (H) – CH – 2nd January

➖ N/A: Durham Palatinates

(No current ranking due to not participating in the WBBL Cup)

First game: v Leicester Riders (H) – CH – 2nd January

All fixtures subject to change and according to official release.


*BA London Lions 0-20 Oaklands Wolves – WBBL Cup (COVID-19 regulations)
*Oaklands Wolves 0-20 Cardiff Met Archers – WBBL Cup (COVID-19 regulations)
*Sevenoaks Suns 20-0 Oaklands Wolves – WBBL Cup (COVID-19 regulations)

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