Severn Stars return home for round 13 as they host London Pulse at the University of Worcester Arena on Friday evening.
Stars return to action following back-to-back victories over both Team Bath and Strathclyde Sirens in rounds 11 and 12 but now face a different challenge against the current league leaders, Pulse.
Former Stars head coach Sam Bird and her Pulse side travel to Worcester as they look to continue their winning form, having secured all three points in seven consecutive wins.
Both sides come into the game off the back of wins after Stars claimed a closely contested 52-49 win over Sirens whilst Pulse displayed a dominant performance securing a 70-48 victory over Bath.
The London based side last fell to defeat in round four after current reigning league champions Manchester Thunder snatched a 58-51 victory and Jo Trip’s side will be hoping to create an upset following their rich vein of form in recent weeks.
The Worcester based team will also be out for revenge after suffering a round three 63-50 defeat in the reverse fixture at the Copper Box Arena earlier this season.
Last time the two sides met a new look Stars team were still learning the ropes and understanding each other but since then, their great threat and ability have seen Stars cause problems for teams, earning five wins along the way.
For their opponents, Pulse have continued their dominance as they sit in first with 30 points but will be up against the league’s top goal scorer, and former Pulse player, Sigi Burger.
Facing her former team, Burger’s threat will undeniably not go unnoticed as the South African scorer has already netted 475 goals during the campaign, having a 95.38% conversion rate.
Another threat amongst the Stars attacking third is duo Jess Shaw and Grace Namana. Both attackers have been crucial in the final third producing a combined total of 420 feeds.
In the defensive zone, the Pulse attack will have a tough test coming up against the experienced Trip as the player-coach has already produced 32 vital intercepts and 57 turnovers for her side.
However, Trip will be facing the high-flying youngster Olivia Tchine who has scored the fifth highest total of goals, 394, after 11 games, producing a 94.48% goal conversion rate.
Pulse wing attack Chelsea Pitman has also been a great influence in the attacking third after the England international has provided 194 feeds for her side: eighth highest across the league.
Across to the Pulse defence, the Stars attack will have a different kind of test to their previous game as they’re set to face Red Roses’ Funmi Fadoju.
The 20-year-old has already made a great impact for both club and country and has completed 28 crucial interceptions thus far.
Fadoju has also provided her side with 53 turnovers within 11 games and has continued to cement her place in Bird’s starting seven.
Last time out for Stars, Trip made two changes after their win over Bath as Sarah MacPhail and Jess Haynes returned to the starting line-up, replacing Jasmine Brown and Rachael Fee.
Captain Gabby Marshall continued to keep her place in the centre with attacking trio Burger, Namana and Shaw also retaining their position.
For Pulse, they have remained unchanged since their round nine victory over Loughborough Lightning, retaining the same starting seven for their previous four fixtures.
The defensive trio of Fadoju, Halimat Adio and captain Zara Everitt have kept sides from scoring more than 50 in their last four games whilst the attacking players are yet to score less than 50 across all matches this season.
The two sides will face off in round 13 on Friday, April 21 with the first centre pass taking place at 19:30.
Photo by Ben Lumley