WBBL Play-off Final: Sevenoaks Suns beat Leicester Riders for third title in a row

Len Busch and Sevenoaks players
Len Busch and the Suns also won the WBBL Play-offs in 2017 and 2018

Sevenoaks Suns retained their WBBL Play-offs title with a 60-55 win over Leicester Riders at the O2 Arena.

In a final that see-sawed with scoring runs from the league's top two teams, Sevenoaks broke a 50-50 tie in the last four minutes to finish the stronger.

Janice Monakana led the scoring for the Suns with 23 points and Catherine Carr added 13, despite struggling to score in the first half.

Brea Elmore had 17 points for Leicester and Holly Winterburn added 11.

The Suns - beaten by Sheffield Hatters in January's WBBL Cup final - rebounded well as Leicester came out shooting in the first quarter with three early threes.

They led 21-15 after 10 minutes in a repeat of last year's final but Leicester came back strongly in the second quarter, hitting 12 unanswered points to lead 33-29 at the interval.

Suns' captain Carr had hit just one shot, 23 seconds from the end of the half, but was instrumental in her team retaking the lead at the end of the third quarter with a 13-2 lead, featuring six points from Monakana.

The fourth quarter saw Elmore and Dee Hayward drive Leicester into a 50-46 lead before the Suns, led by five points from Most Valuable Player Monakana, seized the crucial advantage with 2:46 remaining and never lost it again.

'Everyone's stepped up' - reaction

Sevenoaks MVP Janice Monakana: "Len [Busch, Sevenoaks coach] was telling us to take our shots - when I was open, I took them and today they went in.

"My team were just very encouraging - there was a very good vibe."

Sevenoaks' guard Taynai Clark: "We wanted to come out and perform and make a statement, having lost to them in the Trophy.

"Sometimes when you have someone [like Catherine Carr] you tend to let them dominate, but this year everyone's stepped up terms of what they can offer."

Leicester's Brea Elmore: "Last time we played Sevenoaks we beat them at home but they were missing a key component - number 14 [Monakana].

"They had her today and she had a big impact in key stretches of the game.

"It was a game of runs - ultimately I knew that it was going to come down to the fourth quarter - who was going to have the spurt to win it. Unfortunately it wasn't us."

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