The WBBL Playoff dream for Nottingham Wildcats is over for the 2021/22 season as they were beaten at Sevenoaks Suns by the narrowest of margins in a semi-final in Surrey that went the distance. The home side eventually coming through to win a thriller, 66-64.
The Suns who were favourites after finishing the regular season in second place and having seen off Essex Rebels in their quarter final match, asserted their control on the game early doors with some suffocating defence limiting the in form Wildcats’ usual heavy scorers to difficult shots or being forced to make passes out of double-teams, with the hosts leading 23-14 after the opening 10 minutes.
A string of cheap fouls early in the second quarter by the home side meant the Wildcats were in the bonus for a whopping eight minutes of the second quarter and duly took their opportunity to narrow the margin, with Kennedy Nicolas providing a consistent inside scoring presence off the bench.
Janice Monakana starred for the Suns on the day, matching her regular season high of 24 points in the scoring department whilst also adding eight rebounds and a superb seven steals with the Great Britain international having one of her best games of the season for Len Busch’s side.
The Wildcats refused to go away in the game, however, and a late flurry of points after forcing the Suns into turnovers and fouls brought Nottingham back to within two points with 20 seconds on the clock, but the visitors couldn’t find a shot to tie the game and the Suns closed out a vital victory to set up a date at the 02 Arena, London, next week to face the London Lions in the WBBL Play-off Finals.
Heartbreak for the Wildcats but immense pride too, along with Kennedy Nicolas’s top score of 16 points and 11 rebounds on the day, Praise Egharevba in her last game before moving to the US, grabbed a game high 14 rebounds and eight points whilst Shaunay Edmonds netted 13 points and 4 assists.
*Main image @IAmAhmedPhotos action from a thrilling semi-final where Nottingham lost by two points.