Severn Stars 41, Loughborough Lightning 61

Severn Stars fell to a 41-61 defeat against top four team Loughborough Lightning at the weekend (Sunday, April 2) after too many errors proved costly.

Severn Stars welcomed back fans to the University of Worcester Arena for the second week in a row, but Lightning quickly established a lead that the home side did not recover from despite an improved final quarter.

Stars Head Coach, Jo Trip, had made changes to her usual starting line-up in defence, with Jasmine Brown in at goalkeeper and Rachael Fee at wing defence. The game went with the centre pass, until an interception in the opening minutes by Brown, who tipped the ball to land in her teammate’s hands and the goal was duly converted. However, Lightning were also quick to capitalise from a Stars mistake, giving them their first turnover of the game, scored by ever reliant Ugandan goal shooter, Mary Cholhok. Another mistake from Stars saw shooter Grace Namana called for footwork and meant Lightning began to build a lead.

A messy final few minutes for both teams at each end of the court saw neither able to convert, but Lightning soon gathered their composure and further extended their lead over the home side to end the first quarter 6-15 in front.

As the match resumed, Lightning straight away stole the ball and, with more errors from the home side, the visitors capitalised and put themselves 13 goals up early on. But Stars got back in gear, with the shooters quickly putting two consecutive goals in to get the team on the scoreboard. Brown made another flying interception at defence, getting another tip to the ball and Stars got the turnover.

Trip made changes in attack, bringing youngster Lily Smith on at goal attack, moving Grace Namana to goal shooter and Sigi Burger to the bench. Smith was quick to slot in her first goal of the game, but at the half-time interval the visitors had a significant advantage, 16-32.

Stars produced two quick goals in the opening minutes of the second half, as midcourter Jess Shaw found Namana under the post, putting the ball over the top of two England Roses defenders, Fran Williams and Alice Harvey. Stars defenders made interceptions, but mistakes from the attacking end meant Stars could not capitalise on these.

Smith was able to find her range, scoring twice in a row from distance which boosted the team and Arena crowd. Despite a late surge of goals, Lightning still proved too clinical and extended their lead again, 25-49.

In the final 15 minutes both teams got off to a quick start. Smith continued her confident shooting, scoring from distance to reduce the deficit. Brown once again forced the ball out of court and teammates brought the ball down court to score.

Mid-courter Jess Shaw spotted Namana under the post and launched the ball with an accurate feed from the transverse line to add to the Stars scoreboard. A few errors in the final few minutes from Lightning saw Stars capitalise. But, despite scoring their highest number of goals in the final quarter and winning it, it was too late to make up the sizeable deficit and at the whistle the score ended 41- 61 to the visitors.

Stars, a University of Worcester franchise, now face two away matches – Team Bath on Saturday, April 8 and Strathclyde Sirens on Friday, April 14 – before they return to the University of Worcester Arena on April 21 to face London Pulse.

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