R9: Stars Vs Lightning
It finished 56-70 as Stars lost at the University of Gloucestershire Arena.
Severn Stars was defeated by reigning Vitality Netball Superleague champions Loughborough Lightning despite a close first half.
The team, back home playing at the University of Gloucestershire Arena, started brightly and led after the first quarter, but was unable to hold on as Lightning pulled away and opened up a sizeable lead in the third quarter.
The match, on Saturday (March 19), started positively for Stars with Cat Tuivaiti making her return from injury. Starting at goal shooter, she brought her signature no-look passes and flare to the game. There was nothing that separated either side in the first quarter, but it was Stars who took a one-goal advantage over Lightning with a goal on the buzzer from Katie Harris at the end of the first quarter, 18-17.
Issy Eaton replaced Tuivaiti and Nicole Humphrys replaced Iman Thomas in the second quarter. Both sides were scoring well, but two consecutive turnovers from Lightning on the Stars centre pass gave the champions a five-goal lead going into the half-time interval, 31-36.
Lightning players were the quickest to shift gears and up their level in the second half and they soon pulled away to an eight-goal lead over Stars. Despite a flurry of intercepts from Stars, the home side was unable to capitalise and went 12 goals down to the visitors, ending the third quarter with it all to do, at 43-55.
Both teams made an array of changes for the opening of the final quarter. Humphrys made an early intercept and the ball flew down the court to Eaton who scored. But some quick passages of play from Lightning saw them extend the lead further over Stars. Despite a late turnover from Stars, it was not enough to close the gap and Lightning came away victorious, 56-70.
Stars defender, Lucy Herdman, said afterwards: “It was a physical game from both teams out there tonight, both teams wanted the win. We will have a very hard week of training this week before our trip up to Scotland next week when we face Strathclyde Sirens.”
Stars next play Strathclyde Sirens away at the Emirates Arena, in Glasgow, on Saturday, March 26, 7.30pm. Tickets for the next home game, against London Pulse at the University of Worcester Arena, on Saturday, April 30, are available atwww.severnstars.co.uk.