Severn Stars 45, Team Bath 48

Severn Stars lost out to Team Bath 48-45 in a closely fought contest that came down to the wire.

In the team’s first match back at the University of Gloucestershire Arena since the pandemic, Stars grew into the second half and were leading with 15 minutes to go. But it was Bath who converted their chances in the final quarter to take the victory on Saturday (February 26).

Stars found themselves down 3-0 early on, but shooters Isabelle Eaton and Paige Reed began to grow into the game and overturned the deficit to draw the game level at 7-7. After four quick fire goals from Bath, defender Lucy Herdman denied the away side the opportunity to increase its lead with a vital interception. As an end-to-end opening quarter drew to a close, Bath took a four-goal lead, 10-14.

A double substitution for Stars by Head Coach, Melissa Bessell, saw Nicole Humphrys and Katie Harris replace Eaton and defender Dee Bolakoro. Humphrys injected her high energy and intensity into the game, making a crucial interception in the mid court and overturning the play. Stars shooter Reed drew her side level at 18-18 for the first time after two quick goals in succession. Despite danger from Bath’s attacking duo, Stars began to find their rhythm, with captain Liana Leota producing a series of quick fire passes between the mid court before firing the ball into the arms of Reed who converted the shot. Though Bath led 22-25 at the interval, Bessell’s side were still firmly in the game and had it all to play for.

Harris and Reed came out in the second half firing and Stars recorded two goals in quick succession to reduce the deficit. Defender Summer Artman put a stop to their attack after outjumping her opponents to collect the rebound and recycle the ball for her side. Stars took a 33-32 lead after Harris converted back-to-back goals. Minutes later, Reed doubled the lead after positive build up play between mid-court players Leota, Humphrys and Bethan Dyke, and Stars had a narrow 34-36 lead heading into the final 15 minutes.

In the final quarter Bath drew level at 37-37, but Stars regained the lead after Reed converted a long range shot before doubling it to a two-goal lead. In the closing stages of the match Bethan Dyke made way for Bolakoro who slotted into the defence. The sides were again level with just minutes to go, but Bath fought back and scored three goals in the final stages to take a 45-48 victory.

Stars, which is a joint franchise between the University of Worcester and University of Gloucestershire, next face London Pulse at the Copper Box Arena, in London, on Saturday, March 5, 2pm.