Renee Busch is looking forward to just being able to play basketball as Sevenoaks Suns make their return from a self-imposed break in tomorrow’s WBBL Cup final.
The Suns decided to put health first as they announced a temporary halt to their season, whilst having to withdraw from the Cup final in the process. However, the postponement of the rearranged showdown led to Sevenoaks rightly having the chance to fulfil the fixture upon the return – and Busch is not taking the opportunity for granted.
“I’m really looking forward to being on the court with my team again, period,” she told Hoopsfix. “The fact that it’s going to be the Cup Final is added excitement.
“For a while, it felt uncertain whether we’d have the opportunity to play at all, so I’m so grateful for the opportunity and am going to enjoy every moment of the lead up and the game itself.
“It didn’t make sense for us to play for a while given the way we operate, so it was a tough decision but we had to do it.
“We have no regrets about it and are grateful and happy to be back together and playing with some newer safety measures in place.”
🚨 SUNS WBBL TEAM SUSPENDS ALL PLAY 🚨
We have decided to postpone our WBBL Championship games and to withdraw from the WBBL Cup Final.
We would like to share an open letter from our WBBL team explaining our decision, which you can read on our website:https://t.co/vcXEthejE8 pic.twitter.com/LP5SC6c1A8
— Sevenoaks Suns (@SevenoaksSuns) January 12, 2021
While some of her team-mates eagerly await their return to the court, Busch was back in action last week on international duty – alongside Janice Monakana – as Great Britain’s Senior Women came up short in their qualifying bid for Women’s EuroBasket 2021.
Continually improved performances at club level had not gone unnoticed with Busch returning to the GB senior fold in November’s window of the qualifiers before retaining her place in the final 12 for the recent clash with Belarus in Riga.
“It’s a huge honour to represent GB,” the 28-year-old said. “Getting called up to the team was exciting and a new challenge that I wasn’t necessarily expecting at the time.
“It feels good to notice how much I’ve improved over the past few years especially. Overall, I’m so happy to be able to play the game and I’ll keep working on my game for as long as I can, no matter the setting.
“It was a disappointing result to not qualify for EuroBasket. All we can do now is take the learning and get better for the next opportunity.”
Focus quickly shifts back to club duties with Sevenoaks fully aware of the threat that Leicester Riders – unbeaten in 10 games this season – possess. The Suns hold the upper-hand in recent finals meetings, but Friday’s encounter provides a unique challenge.
”Leicester have depth, a lot of weapons and strong team organisation,” said Busch. “They’ve spent a considerable amount of time training/playing together this season (despite the disruptions!) so you know they’re preparing for you every time you play them.
“I think their size works to their advantage in particular. But as always with basketball, it comes down to if the ball goes in the basket – I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
The Suns have won it all in the WBBL with seven pieces of silverware to their name in recent years, but rest assured they are not content. Winning is everything in sport and the desire remains as strong as ever for the club, despite their multiple past successes.
“The motivation is always there,” insists Busch. “As athletes and competitors we want to win every time out and that shows up in practice too. We have strong leadership and we all want to improve and do whatever it takes for the team to be successful.
“We encourage and hold each other accountable every day and I think it’s our unselfishness and focus that shows up in our culture.”
Sevenoaks topped their group in the Cup with a 3-0 record – capped by a 65-50 victory over Cardiff Met Archers as Busch fired in 25 points without a miss, including a perfect 7-of-7 from 3-point range.
Len Busch’s side then came through a tough battle in the semi-finals as they edged out Nottingham Wildcats for a 69-67 victory, though they have only played once game since as they opened their league campaign with a win in December – 60 days ago.
“It hasn’t been an ideal prep period but it’s what we have, so we’re making the most of it,” concludes Busch. “In this case especially, having a core group of players that have been together for a long time is definitely helpful.
“We know each other well and chemistry like that is a plus and builds confidence for sure.
“We’d love to win together as a team tomorrow. We’re going to go out and do our best and take care of the things within our control.”
Brad has been a writer for Hoopsfix since 2014 and has also had freelance roles at the BBL and with FIBA – working at two Women’s EuroBasket tournaments. Contact: [email protected]