The team suffered a 56-44 defeat as it kicked off the Super Ten at the NEC in Birmingham.
In front of a crowd of thousands gathered at the event, which brought together all Superleague teams to play on one day, the Stars started slowly, falling behind in the opening minutes of the game 13-6. However, with pressure from Goal Defence Becky Oatley and Goal Keeper Josie Janz-Dawson, the Stars managed to end the first quarter 15-10.
Changes going into the second quarter saw Captain Laura Malcolm move to Centre and Sophie Carter back into Wing Defence. The changes took a while to pay off as Loughborough extended their lead to 23-13, with the help of seasoned Superleague Goal Shooter, Peace Proscovia. Towards the close of the second quarter, Severn Stars players again upped their defensive pressure and put on an impressive offensive show to reach half time with the score 30-21.
A lively Severn Stars team returned to the court for the second half as they made the most of a series of turnovers to win the third quarter 9-13 and bring the deficit down to 5 going into the final quarter.
This momentum continued into the opening minutes of the final quarter, as Stars brought on an energetic Becky Tildesley for Goal Shooter Afeisha Noel. However, the energy was short lived as Lightning was able to pull away and secure a 56-44 win. The team will now have to look to their home debut next weekend to reverse their fortunes.
Despite the loss, Assistant Coach Sam Bird, standing in for Head Coach Mo’onia Gerrard, highlighted the improvement she had witnessed in the side since the opening match a week earlier.“I am really pleased with the performance today,” she said.
“Last week we had our first game against Surrey Storm and we were a bit frustrated with how we delivered on court. Today I thought we were much better. Our attacking play was good, we turned the ball over and we competed with a very strong Loughborough side.”
“The improvement we’ve made on court with those corrections in just one week is really positive” added Bird.
“It was really good to have our captain Laura Malcolm back on court. I thought she made a big difference in the middle and led really well. Becky Oatley played very well in Goal Defence as well, shutting down their Goal Attack and putting a lot of pressure on Loughborough’s shooters.”
The team must now look to it’s first home game at the University of Worcester Arena on Friday, March 3rd to secure those first three points.
“We are desperate to play at home,” added Bird.
“We play Celtic Dragons, which will be our third match, and the girls are really up for it. With the effort that the girls are putting into training sessions, I think we can win at home with fantastic support from both Gloucestershire and Worcestershire supporters.
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