Having missed out on the playoff spots, Pride faced off against Sevenoaks Suns at the Crags Centre in Edinburgh on Wednesday evening for the final game of the 20/21 WBBL season. Suns were coming off their first loss of the season and had already secured the WBBL League Championship, but were looking to get back to winning ways ahead of May Madness.
Pride opened the scoring with Sian Phillips finding Pollyanna Storie for a post score. Suns immediately answered, but on the next play, Storie repaid the favour by finding a cutting Phillips for a layup as a fast-paced, up and down quarter began to unfold. Suns extended to a 7-4 lead before Ella Doherty and Maud Ranger scored either side of a Suns layup. But Sevenoaks’ shooters Renee Busch and Irene Garrido-Perez were starting to get going and Pride coach John Day called timeout with 4:50 o play in Q1 with Suns leading 16-10. Garrido-Perez kept her hot streak going to the end of the period to further build the Suns early advantage, but Eabha Kerr showed fight for Pride with two aggressive moves attacking the basket as the quarter finished 25-15 to Sevenoaks.
After the frantic pace of the 1st quarter, the game settled down a little in the 2nd and neither team scored in the initial exchanges. Cat Carr eventually got the first bucket of the period for Suns, but Pride were able to come straight back through a Pollyanna Storie jump-shot. And the pattern of going score for score continued through the first 6 minutes of Q2 as the score moved on to 34-23 in favour of the visitors, with Pride going toe to toe with the league champions. But much like the 1st quarter, it was the experienced Sevenoaks team who were to finish the quarter stronger, stretching out to a 20 point lead at the half, with the score 49-29.
Pride were determined to get something from this game and started the 2nd half brightly, opening Q3 with a layup by Storie and a 3 point play by Phillips either side of a Carr turnaround shot for Suns. Back to back 3 pointers from Maud Ranger then Ella Doherty saw Pride take a chunk out of the Sevenoaks lead as Pride got within 13 points, but once again Suns stepped it up late in the quarter and pulled away to restore a 19 point advantage at the end of the 3rd quarter, as the scoreboard read 63-44.
Suns quickly extended their lead to 21 at the start of the final period, before a 3 minute period followed where defences were on top and neither team was able to find the basket. Sian Phillips stopped this with a long 2, before 3s by Maud Ranger and Ella Doherty countered 2 point scores by Suns, as Pride slowly chipped away at the Sevenoaks lead, but a strong 9-0 run for Pride on scores by Rose Harvey, Sian Phillips and two field goals by Ranger, saw the advantage quickly cut to just 10 points with just under 2 minutes remaining. But that was as close as Pride were to get, as two scores by Suns closed out the game as they took the win 75-61.
Maud Ranger led all scorers in the game with 19 points and also added 10 rebounds. Sian Phillips had another strong double-double with 16 points and 20 rebounds, whilst also picking up a steal to take her into a tie for the all-time Pride lead in this category. In their final game for Pride, Pollyanna Storie added 10 points and 6 assists, whilst Ella Doherty scored 8 points.
Spanish wing Irene Garrido-Perez led Sevenoaks with 16 points and Portuguese international Lavinia Da Silva added 14 points.
Speaking after the game, Pride coach John Day commented: “Again we showed in spells that we can compete with the top teams in the WBBL. We need to work harder to have these spells last for longer to give ourselves a bigger chance in games in future seasons.“
Photos courtesy of Donald Stewart.