R15: Stars 62 v Dragons 56
Dominant Severn Stars Hold off Challenge from Celtic Dragons
A dominant Severn Stars performance saw them hold off a determined Celtic Dragons side 62-56 in front of a packed-out University of Worcester Arena on Sunday (May 4).
Stars led from the outset and had a nine-goal advantage heading into half-time. Despite a fight back from Dragons to close that gap in the third quarter, Stars managed to pull away again in the final minutes.
Head coach / player Jo Trip’s Stars came out firing, creating an early turnover that saw attacking duo Sigi Burger and Grace Namana convert their opening goals.
An unsettled Dragons side found themselves six down, however, as the quarter progressed, they began to chip away at the deficit. Despite a surge from the Dragons attacking pair, Gabby Sinclair and Rachel Dunn, the home side remained in front 16-13 after 15 minutes.
A strong response from Dragons at the start of the second quarter saw them come to within just one goal after Shaquanda Greene-Noel intercepted a Stars attack and Dragons’ shooter Georgia Rowe converted.
However, Stars began to regain control, creating a five-goal cushion following a series of unforced errors from the visitors. Dragons’ struggles in the third phase continued and Burger again netted ahead of the buzzer at the half-time interval, to take Stars 32-23 ahead.
Cheered on by an enthusiastic crowd, Stars maintained their nine-goal lead early on in the third quarter, as Jess Shaw fed a long ball into Burger, who was free under the post. A held ball by Rowe saw Stars turnover play, but a misplaced pass from Shaw allowed Dragons to reset and break themselves.
Dragons continued to reduce the deficit as Greene-Noel again read the play, cutting out Gabby Marshall’s low ball and setting her side away for the conversion. They closed the gap to just four, but Stars responded with a rapid turnover from Marshall and shooter Grace Namana to stay five goals up, 45-40.
With just 15 minutes left, a dropped ball by Rowe gave Stars an early turnover and impressive link up play between Burger and Namana saw further goals.
In an end-to-end quarter, the away side stayed in the match, with Rowe continuing to keep the pressure on her former side. But unforced errors crept into Dragons’ play, providing Stars with opportunities and to eventually secure their victory, 62-56.
Severn Stars, a franchise owned by the University of Worcester, next face Loughborough Lightning away, on May 6. Their next game at home at the University of Worcester Arena is against Saracens Mavericks on Sunday (May 13), at 4pm.
For tickets or more information visit the Severn Stars website www.severnstars.co.uk.