After a two-week league layoff, Nottingham Wildcats are back in action this weekend as they take on Essex Rebels at the Wildcats Arena tomorrow evening (7pm tip off).
Despite thumping Cardiff Met Archers 117-82 last weekend in the WBBL Trophy quarter final, Kenrick Liburd’s team have had a tough bread and butter campaign so far, after seeing a wealth of talent leave post season 20/21 and although some of the class of 21/22 have so far stood up to be counted, after impressive performances individually, the transitional period of such a high turnaround in players has taken its toll with Nottingham more often than not unable to turn those individual statistics into results, so far in twelve WBBL games the Wildcats have won just four times, losing eight.
Confident performances from the likes of Brooklyn Pannell (averaging over 17 points a game) and Canadian Guard Jahnae Gyles (netting 15.8 on ave) with Shaunay Edmonds (15.2 for scoring) also in the top five assists in the division, have seen the Wildcats as an attacking threat very good going forward, averaging a fair return of over 73 points per match.
Even defensively, they have Kennedy Nicolas with the highest defensive rebounds, and total rebounds in the division, 18-year-old Praise Egharevba also ranking well (topping the offensive rebounds list), although the latter also heads the infringements list for average personal fouls per match.
Unfortunately those defensive stats though see an average against, of 75 points per game, as you can see the difference in winning and losing so tight this season, when it comes to the crunch, too often Nottingham have fallen short.
Games lost by less than two scores have included Leicester Riders at the top of the campaign, Manchester Met Mystics, Newcastle Eagles and last time out Gloucester City Queens.
Essex Rebels will offer a decent threat this weekend too with another tight match-up likely in the waiting, two places above the Wildcats in the table they are currently sixth having played just nine matches (three less than Nottingham) and with a 4-5 record.
A win will take the Wildcats above the Rebels and potentially out of the bottom half but a defeat will further damage a season so far that has just gone Nottingham’s way. Improvement in result, if not necessarily individually, is certainly required.
The one hope though, the impressive performance last time out all be it in trophy action against a team currently also at the foot of the WBBL, Nottingham scoring big against Cardiff with Egharevba netting 20 points and Gyles a whopping 34 to book a semi-final place against either London Lions or Manchester Met Mystics.
Nottingham will be hoping for more of the same after a confident display, with the hope that this new team is starting to gel the more it plays together.
*Main image @WBBLofficial Praise Egharevba in action.