Sevenoak Suns lifted the 2020 WBBL Cup, beating Durham Palatinates 74-64 in Birmingham.

It saw the reigning WBBL champions acquire the trophy for the first time to banish the trauma of their last shot reverse to Sheffield of 12 months earlier.

And even though Durham produced a late fightback, an equal game-high 21 points and a MVP performance from Great Britain forward Janice Monakana was among a deep team showing that saw her side hit 11-22 from three-point range.

“I’m very happy with the performance of the girls down the stretch,” Suns coach Len Busch said.

“Durham put up a tremendous fight. They rattled us and could have stolen it. But we maintained our composure and got the job done.”

Sevenoaks led 32-24 at half-time following the lowest-scoring quarter in final history which was taken by the Suns 13-10.

The drought broke for Sevenoaks and rapidly so.

Busch’s side exploded offensively, extending their advantage with a 13-4 run early in the third. And although Dee Hayward and Monakana traded threes, the Suns hit 21 points in the period with Durham unable to resist.

A three-pointer from Renee Busch capped Sevenoaks’ cushion at 59-37.

Yet not quite game over.

Durham, beaten in last season’s Trophy final, embarked on a 17-4 run with GB international Nicolette Fong Lyew Quee leading the charge and Claire Paxton, who scored nine of her 17 in first half, adding a jumper that slashed the deficit to 63-54 with 5:10 left.

However, Monakana converted twice from long range as misses and mistakes from Palatinates began to cool their momentum.

“We’re going to continue to work with (Monakana) and get her to take it more,” Busch admitted. “She can do it and she makes us much stronger.”

And even though Betsy Macdonald, who gathered 14 of her team-high 21 points in the fourth, downed a four-point play with 1:45 to go, there was to be no further retort for Durham.

“We played together and especially when there was adversity as they threatened to come back near the end of the game,” Monakana said.

“We stuck together and played right until the buzzer. This makes up for losing in the Final during the last few seconds last year to Sheffield. We really wanted to fight from the start today because of that and I think we did it.”

Cat Carr added 14 points, eight rebounds and ten assists for the victors while Kara Elderkin corralled a game-leading 14 rebounds for Lee Davie’s vanquished team.

“We didn’t start playing until it was too late,” Davie declared. “The pace we played for in the last 15 minutes is how we needed to play from the beginning. Hats off to them, they played incredibly hard throughout the game.

“When you are playing a team of that calibre you just can’t give them that much space and time.”

Game Stats

Photo: MAP

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