By Grace Gunn
Severn Stars fall to a 50-56 defeat at home against the league leaders London Pulse in round 13 after a relentless third quarter from Sam Bird’s side.
Both sides started strong, but it was the away team who took the lead at the end of the first quarter with a 10-16 score.
The second quarter saw Stars fight back through the clinical Sigi Burger and Grace Namana, but it was Pulse who remained ahead at 25-29 at half time.
After a triple change from Pulse, a surge of resilience and domination rippled through the side as they drew an 11-goal lead heading into the final quarter.
Despite a final quarter comeback from the home side, it was Pulse who claimed all three points after securing a 50-56 victory.
It was the visiting side who opened the scoring as Olivia Tchine converted the first but the inform Burger made no mistake with the instant reply following patient build up play.
Player coach Jo Trip proved to be a problem for the Pulse attack as she read the play, cutting out the dangerous looping ball before setting her side away with the turnover in which Namana scored.
Stars’ pressure continued to challenge the league leaders as Jess Shaw forced Zara Everitt into a low ball, but the wing attack turns play over with an interception.
A serious of loose balls and unforced errors from the hosts allowed Pulse to gain a six-goal cushion at the end of quarter one.
A strong start from Stars in the opening few moments saw Trip’s side reduce the deficit to three after consecutive goals but Pulse continued to display their experience.
Defender Jess Haynes looked to prevent a Pulse attack, but her interception rolled out for a throw in; Tchine again converted to increase their lead.
The league’s top goal scorer, Burger, retained her 100% goal conversion rate in the match, netting their 21st to stay in touch of the relentless Pulse side.
A quick centre pass routine from Bird’s side saw Tchine score again but a buzzer beater from Stars allowed them to trail by just four.
The first change of the game came as Bird looked to freshen up her side via a triple change as Chelsea Pitman, captain Everitt and Halimat Adio made way for Lindsay Keable, Ashleigh Dekker and Ellie Rattu.
Stars captain Gabby Marshall remained more than alert after making back-to-back vital interceptions, but it was the second one that stuck as her turnover provided Burger with the goal.
Pulse made another substitute as Sacha MacDonald entered the court and wasted no time in making her mark after the goal attack provided some defensive work, turning over play before regaining possession herself to convert.
With just 15 minutes left on the clock, Pulse found themselves 11 goals ahead through the clinical Tchine and MacDonald as they led 33-44.
Stars came flying out the blocks in the final quarter as they looked to chip away at the deficit. The Stars attacking duo converted consecutive goals, but Tchine continued to reply.
Pulse retained their record of 50 goals after Tchine held off Trip, but Stars made them wait until the final quarter to do so.
Nothing looked to fall the home side’s way as the dynamic duo of Namana and Burger looked to just fall out of sync.
Whilst Pulse continued to see out the game, Stars kept their feet down as they began to regain rhythm with Burger sinking back-to-back goals.
Despite a late charge, Stars fell short as the current league leaders secured all three points with the score finalised at 50-56.
Gilbert Player of the match Jade Clarke
Photos by clivejonespr.com