Written by Grace Gunn
Severn Stars secured back-to-back wins for the first time this season as they battled off Team Bath in controlled fashion at the University of Worcester Arena.
The home side created a five-goal lead at the end of the first quarter after a strong start at both ends of the court.
Bath continued to fight back but a defensively resolute combination of Jo Trip and Rebekah Airey prevented them as they headed in at half time 30-22 up.
Stars began to create a bigger lead again in the third quarter as the clinical Sigi Burger dispatched her shots with ease, securing a 46-32 advantage with just 15 minutes to go.
Despite the visitors’ fast paced tempo in the final quarter, a composed and refreshed Stars side held off the five-time League winners to earn their third victory of the season.
Asha Francis’ side looked energised in the opening minutes after converting three early goals, but the hosts grew into the game, soon erasing the slim deficit through the in-form Burger.
A series of unforced errors from Bath provided Stars with turnovers and with the unstoppable Burger in space, the Worcester based side were able to capitalise.
Continuous high looping balls from goal attack Grace Namana proved to be too much for Bath as Burger was able to hold off the defence and dispatch her efforts.
With the Blue and Gold side still looking to reduce the deficit, Kadeen Corbin and Betsy Creak attempted to work the ball patiently but Stars’ Airey was there to intercept the danger.
Stars looked settled as they took a 17-12 lead into the second quarter after a composed opening 15 minutes.
Francis looked to freshen things up ahead of Q2 as former Stars keeper Summer Artman entered the court as Imogen Allison departed, shifting Jayda Pechova to goal defence and Lily-May Catling into the wing defence role.
A baseline drive from Corbin earned her side a foul after Trip tried her luck in intercepting; Bath converted their chance.
Jess Shaw and Namana provided a dangerous threat as they worked the pockets well, but a footwork call on the goal attack, forced a turnover for Bath. Airey, once again, battled off Creak to win back possession before sending her side away to convert the opportunity.
The visitors looked to their bench for ideas as Stars’ lead began to pull away with Francis calling upon Sophie Kelly and Hannah Passmore, who replaced Corbin and Creak; the pair wasted no time in providing for their team.
As the quarter drew to a close, Trip’s side continued to pressurise Bath as they earnt an eight-goal lead heading into half time.
Stars continued as they left off after forcing an early turnover in the goal defence third; top goal-scorer Burger makes no mistake from close range.
An unforced error from Namana gifted Bath possession but a misplaced pass from Kirsty Harris allowed Stars to regain possession and capitalise on the opportunity.
Down but not out, Francis’ side were patient with their build up place as Kelly looked to thread the ball into Passmore, but Airey read the play, intercepting a dangerous feed.
The away side began to chip away at the deficit however Passmore’s misplaced shot is met by the experienced Trip who sent her side away, scoring once again.
In the closing stages of Q3, Bath looked to break with pace but the loose pass was retrieved by Airey, setting her side up with a turnover.
With just one quarter remaining, Stars led 46-32.
With just 15 minutes remaining, Bath increased their tempo as Corbin threaded a long looping ball into Creak, but the ball is met by Trip, forcing another turnover for her Stars.
Again, Corbin proved to be a shining light for her side as she displayed her skills after rolling off the back of the defence to receive and score.
A composed final quarter saw Trip freshen her side up as Issy Eaton returned to court for the first time this season. The player/coach also took herself off as Herdman entered the court.
A host of changes also saw Ruth Hughes make her debut for Stars after replacing Gabby Marshall. Lily Smith also entered the court as she replaced Shaw for the remaining minutes.
A controlled and professional 67-50 display saw Stars take all three points in their first home victory of the season.
Gilbert Player of the Match – Rebekah Airey
Let’s Culminate Player of the Match – Jess Shaw
Photos by clivejonespr.com