Severn Stars are keen to put what they have learnt from their loss on the opening day of the season into practice in their re-match with Saracens Mavericks, says Captain Liana Leota.
The team’s first away match of the season this weekend sees them face Mavericks for the second time in two weeks. But Leota said the team is looking to build on the strides made in last weekend’s performance against Manchester Thunder.
“I think this game will show if we have learnt from our mistakes from round one,” she said. “We made huge strides against Thunder and showed what a huge mental shift we had made within a week. This week we have a chance to rectify that first match and again I think it’s that mental shift we are looking for; staying in the game for 60 minutes, and being aware of critical moments and momentum shifts. If we can execute our game plan for 60 minutes, stick to our structures and adapt and adjust within the quarters then the outcome should take care of itself.”
Stars, a joint franchise between the University of Worcester and University of Gloucestershire, faced Mavericks on the opening day of the season at Arena Birmingham. Despite a strong start, which saw them six goals ahead at the end of the first quarter, a swing of 16 goals in the second quarter created a deficit that Stars did not recover from, ultimately losing 70-49. They travel to Hertfordshire Sports Village, on Saturday (March 7, 3pm).
“I think Saracens are a quality team and I think they have finally got their mix right,” said Leota. “This year they will be top contenders if their full squad stay injury free. We showed Saracens in the first quarter what we had, then let them come back into the game and really had no answers in how to stop them collectively. We have watched and learned since round one and last week showed a glimpse of what we are capable of against Thunder.”
She said the team had learnt a lot from the Mavericks match.
“It taught us that games aren’t going to be handed to us for playing amazingly well in one quarter and we have to work and grind games out for 60 minutes, constantly changing plays and structures in order to combat the opposition,” said Leota. “But the key points I have found is also looking after one another when the pressure is on or if we have made a mistake or two. Also it’s about taking ownership and understanding the situation at the time, taking a breath and going back if we need to then forward in attack.
“However, we are not inspired by the losses. I feel the inspiration is from how hard we know we have worked in pre-season and the gains we have made as a squad. We know we are very capable of playing at a higher level and we need to do this consistently.”
The next home game is against Wasps Netball at the University of Worcester Arena on March 14, at 6pm. For tickets visit www.severnstars.co.uk.