It was an iconic moment in the history of the British Basketball Cup Finals as Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters came up with a game-winning three-pointer with 1.4 seconds left on the clock in front of 5,000 fans at the Arena Birmingham on Sunday afternoon.
Sheffield make history with the win by completing the full set of WBBL titles after their 62-60 triumph over Sevenoaks Suns.
Despite leading for most of the game, the Hatters needed a three-point shot from Helen Naylor with 1.4 seconds left to win the trophy for the first time.
The Suns were led by Cat Carr, who had 21 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists, and Janice Monakana, who added 14 points, however it was Sheffield who made the better start, holding the Suns scoreless for more than six minutes in the first quarter as they posted a 10-point lead in the first seven minutes.
Sevenoaks came back to within four points at the end of the first half as Carr hit seven points in a row but the Hatters, led by Alison Gorrell’s aggressive offensive play, restored a 12-point lead midway through the third quarter.
Sevenoaks’ 8-1 start to the final period sparked a surge that gave them the lead following a three from Jess Good with three minutes remaining and, despite Sheffield’s strong response, Carr’s shot from the top of the key with 7.4 seconds remaining seemed to have completed a Suns victory.
Out of the timeout though, Sheffield stayed patient before Naylor splashed her belated winner to give Sheffield victory.
Carr, the reigning league MVP almost came up with the game-winner herself in a thrilling conclusion to the Cup Final but subsequently missed her three-point shot as the full-time buzzer went.
Carr finished just short of a triple-double in the heart-breaking defeat – a first for the Suns since last year’s Trophy Final.
Head Coach Len Busch was gracious in defeat, he said: “It was a great game, very competitive, we fought back after being down the entire game, I thought maybe we were going to sneak it there at the end, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way.”
“For us, defensively, we played sound, we held them to 62 points. I told the girls in the locker room that 9 times out of ten you’re going to win, except today we an exceptionally poor shooting day.”
Carr added after the loss: “It was a great game for the audience, we definitely struggled to put the ball in the hoop, we can’t play like that and come out on top.”
“I think we’ll just use this as motivation continuing on through the season.”
Sevenoaks return to action this weekend in a WBBL Trophy double-header as they travel to BA London Lions on Saturday before hosting Essex Rebels at the Sennocke Centre at 1.30pm on Sunday afternoon.