The final individual awards of 2020 in the WBBL have gone to Sevenoaks Suns’ play-caller Len Busch, and Nottingham Wildcats’ high-scoring guard Chelsey Shumpert.
Busch scoops the Molten WBBL Coach of the Month Award for December after maintaining an unbeaten start to the season in all competitions, with Sevenoaks triumphing in both of their outings in the month.
Most significantly, Suns will defend the WBBL Cup title that they won for the first time in 2020 after coming from behind to overcome Nottingham Wildcats 69-67 in a tight semi-final.
Trailing by five at the halfway point, they came straight out of Coach Busch’s halftime address to take the lead with a 7-0 burst as the coach’s daughter, Renee, hit the go-ahead three-pointer on her way to 23 points. They completed a 17-8 third quarter and held on late to set up a final with Leicester Riders.
A week later, Suns also opened their WBBL Championship campaign – again, silverware they are defending – with a comprehensive 75-47 road win at Newcastle Eagles, proving to be relentless throughout. They remain unbeaten in league play in over a year, having also won the last six games of the previous campaign, and have lost just once in their last 48 league and Play-off games since February 2018.
Coach Busch’s efficient offence commits the fewest turnovers in the WBBL and has the best three-point accuracy, while also having the league’s second-best defence.
Meanwhile, the Molten WBBL Player of the Month was December’s leading scorer in all competitions, Nottingham’s Chelsey Shumpert, who paced the league by some distance at 25 points per game.
The American guard – in her third season with the Wildcats – helped her team to a league win over Cardiff Met Archers by scoring 15 points, including eight in the key second quarter run. She was also valiant in two narrow defeats in the WBBL Cup semi-final and in an East Midlands derby against Leicester, on both occasions almost single-handedly firing her team back into those games from a long way down.
Through the Cup competition she was third overall in both points and assists, and in the top ten for defensive rebounding, although she bowed out in the defeat to Sevenoaks despite 23 points, five rebounds and four assists. She scored eight points in the last four minutes of that game to bring back a double-digit deficit, although missed the final shot to force overtime.
She also turned in one of the scoring performances of the season with 36 points against Leicester, hitting eight of her 11 three-point attempts, including an unbelievable 22 points in seven minutes as Nottingham came back from a double-digit deficit to lead, although they ultimately couldn’t hold on.
For the month, her 106 minutes were the most of any player and she averaged 25 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals per outing, shooting 46% (12-26) from three-point range and 93% (14-15) at the free-throw line.