Mavericks 62 – 48 Stars
Saracens Mavericks kept alive their hopes of a semi-final place with an impressive 62-48 win over Severn Stars.
The three points gained at the University of Essex were not quite enough to take Mavericks into the top four but does mean that they still have it all to play for in the final regular season game against Strathclyde Sirens on Saturday.
With their eyes firmly on the job in front of them, the hosts took to the court in determined fashion as they looked to secure victory in Colchester.
It was Mavericks with the first steal of the game, Michelle Drayne in the right place at the right time to take turnover ball which was converted to goal with ease by George Fisher.
An early surge of defensive pressure meant the home side saw plenty of ball, but a disjointed transition saw Stars take advantage and lead for the majority of the first quarter, which eventually ended 13-11 to the visitors.
Into the second period and Beth Ecuyer-Dale was inserted into the Centre position for Sasha Corbin.
Mavericks soon slotted into a flow of attacking mastery, with Kadeen Corbin and Georgia Lees linking to find Fisher in acres of space in the circle.
Lindsay Keable entered midway through the quarter for Razia Quashie at GK, who had done a sterling job to keep Stars’ Georgia Rowe quiet. Keable carried on the good work, linking well with team mate Jo Trip.
Trip came out with team lifting intercepts that drove Mavericks into a strong momentum shift, whilst the other end Fisher nailed 13 goals from 13 attempts.
Mavericks would take the lead into the half time break, 30-25.
The hosts remained the same going into the third quarter and with a run of 3 goals, they looked to keep a stranglehold on the momentum.
Stars had rung the changes with Ella Powell-Davies in at Centre and Iona Darroch at WA which had immediate results.
They responded with four successive of their own and went goal for goal for the remainder of the quarter.
With nine minutes remaining in Q3, Fisher moved out to GA and Karyn Bailey entered the court at GS.
The deadly shooting duo instantly connected to overload the Stars defence and increase the Mavericks score within seconds on court together.
Stars kept testing Mavericks’ and were resolute in not letting the lead blow out. The advantage sat at four heading into the final fifteen minutes, 45-41.
A big last quarter was needed to make sure Mavericks would get over the finish line and remain in the hunt for a play-off place.
K.Corbin came back into GA, Fisher moved back to GS and Trip & Keable switched bibs.
Sasha Corbin re-entered the court at Centre and had an immediate impact, injecting the pace and control that she is renowned for.
By now Mavericks had found a slick flow with K.Corbin and Fisher proving too hot for the Stars defence to handle.
K. Corbin made a play towards the side-line only to take a hit from Stars Jodie-Ann Ward, instead of crumbling, Corbin produced a no-look, overhead long pass to Fisher.
Her team mate was standing free under the post to slot home. A deserved standing ovation for a piece of magical play followed.
Despite the height advantage for Stars’ Rowe over Trip, the Mavericks defender found herself all over the circle, rolling intercepts like sushi and winning plenty of ball for her team.
Mavericks rewarded themselves with a 17-7 final quarter win to comfortably take home the spoils.
Head Coach Kat Ratnapala said: “We had a really slow start today which isn’t good enough but with hard work, perseverance and grit we dug deep as a squad and pushed on with our game plan until the end.
“Our unit connections between both ends really flourished in the final quarter and we can continue to build confidence from our performance.”
Saracens Mavericks play their final regular season game at the University of Hertfordshire on Saturday when they welcome Strathclyde Sirens from 4pm. Tickets for this match are limited and you can get yours here
Only a win would offer the chance to continue into the post-season and that remains dependent on teams in the top four faltering at the final hurdle.
All Mavericks can do now is continue pick up the wins and hope for a favour from elsewhere.
Sky Sports & Our Player of the Match: Jo Trip
Fisher: 40/44 – 91%
Corbin: 16/20 – 80%
Bailey: 6/8 – 67%
Hankin: 0/1 – 0%