A big win for Sevenoaks Suns sees their two top performers leading the second WBBL All-Star 5 of the season, followed by two players who have recorded back-to-back double-doubles and Leicester Riders’ new star American guard.
Renee Busch – Sevenoaks Suns
The three-time WBBL champions Sevenoaks Suns got their first win of the new campaign on the board as Renee Busch had a career night on the road at Oaklands Wolves on Saturday, coming agonisingly close to a triple-double. Suns were dominant from the outset, led by their captain as she finished with 28 points by nailing 6-11 (55%) three-pointers and making all four of her interior shots, completing a double-double with 13 rebounds and also handing out nine assists.
Araion Bradshaw – Sevenoaks Suns
Suns made a big acquisition over the summer in Araion Bradshaw, a Boston native guard who came with a big defensive reputation after being named to the Atlantic 10 All-Defensive Team three seasons in a row, and winning Conference Defensive Player of the Year during a standout career at the University of Dayton. And she has lived up to that reputation so far on these shores, as she nabbed seven steals in Saturday’s win when Suns forced a whopping 33 turnovers and held their hosts to just 50 points. Bradshaw added 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists in outstanding all-round performance.
Katie Nolan – Newcastle Eagles
Newcastle added 6’1″ American centre Katie Nolan in the off-season, straight out of Seton Hill where she averaged a double-double and has maintained that record so far in the WBBL, with her second of the nascent campaign leading Eagles to a first win, edging out Nottingham Wildcats at Vertu Motors Arena. Nolan finished with a team-high 17 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, shooting 7-9 (78%) at the free-throw line as she proved hard to handle throughout with Eagles coming back from an early deficit.
Erin Jones – Caledonia Gladiators
The only player making consecutive All-Star 5 appearances to start the season, Jones again made a huge impact from the bench as Gladiators beat Essex Rebels on the road to go 2-0 in the early WBBL Championship standings. She finished with another double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds, also handing out six assists. Gladiators trailed for much of the early going before opening the second stanza on a 13-0 tear to take the lead for good, Jones scoring four points with five rebounds in that spell, before adding 10 points in the third as they maintained a double-digit cushion that they would need to hold off a late fightback from the hosts.
Oliana Squires – Leicester Riders
Squires joined Leicester in the summer having previously spent four years at Montana State, the Colorado native averaging 11 points and three assists as a senior, and she has started well on these shores as Riders have recorded consecutive wins to open the season. Victorious on the road at Manchester Met Mystics on Sunday, Squires scored a game-high 18 points, with four steals, three rebounds and two assists, including seven points in the opening 11 minutes and two steals that led directly to five points as Riders established a double-digit lead early in the second quarter and never relinquished it.
Off the bench: Sune Swart (Essex Rebels), Kayla Shaw (Nottingham Wildcats), Mari Stewart (Nottingham Wildcats), Jess Eadsforth-Yates (Leicester Riders), Chloe Gaynor (Newcastle Eagles), Chantelle Handy (Caledonia Gladiators), Shaelynne Sanchez Czerniecki (Manchester Met Mystics).