R17: Dragons Vs Stars
A costly third quarter for Severn Stars saw their hopes of consecutive wins end in defeat in Cardiff against Celtic Dragons, 57-51.
Stars started brightly and led at the end of the first quarter, but their opponents opened up a significant 12-goal lead in the third period that, despite the away side’s best efforts, proved too much to recover in the final 15 minutes.
After a fast-paced start from Dragons on Saturday (May 7), Stars looked to reply instantly. It didn’t take long before Stars shooter Cat Tuivaiti produced a play of excellence as she performed a fake pass before laying the ball off to the edge of the circle with a no look pass that found its way into the arms of goal attack, Paige Reed. With the game tightly poised, Reed got stuck into the defensive work as she forced a turnover and put her side ahead at the end of the quarter, 13-14.
Dragons’ in-form Shaquanda Greene-Noel produced a controlled interception with one hand to spark a counterattack that her side capitalised on early on in the second quarter. With a lively crowd behind them at the Sport Wales National Centre, the home side carved out a four-goal lead after the mid-court sent a looping ball into the attacking third, which found Georgia Rowe who dispatched the shot. Reed made way for Katie Harris in Stars’ shooting line-up and Tuivaiti netted back-to-back goals to help Stars reduce the deficit to just two at the half-time interval, 29-27.
In the third quarter, a rare unforced error from Dragons’ Lefebre Rademan allowed the visitors a chance to break, with Tuivaiti in space who drew the game level at 30-30. However, Dragons fired ahead once again as increased intensity and patient build-up play eventually weaved through the Stars defence. As the game began to open up, Dragons were clinical with their takes and began to run away with the game, extending their lead heading into the final 15 minutes, 46-34.
With one quarter left, Stars looked to produce a comeback through Tuivaiti as she received a quick ball in to reduce the deficit to seven. Dragons, however, continued to push and, despite immaculate scoring from Tuivaiti, pursued with like-for-like goals, ensuring a 57-51 victory.
Stars, a joint franchise between the University of Worcester and University of Gloucestershire, next play Leeds Rhinos at the Emerald Headingley Stadium in Leeds on Saturday, May 16, at 5.30pm. Their next and last home game of the season is against Strathclyde Sirens on May 29 at the University of Gloucestershire Arena.
For more information and tickets, visit www.severnstars.co.uk.