Loughborough Lightning remain outside the play-off places after an Easter Monday 51-48 loss against Hertfordshire Mavericks.
Read the Lightning match report below:
Lightning played host to a physical Hertfordshire Mavericks side who were able to claw back the victory to win 48-51.
The last time the two sides met was the 6th of February where Mavericks took a slim victory against Lightning 44-48. Lightning were keen to correct this as they headed out onto the court to a substantial home crowd. Lightning’s last game was a huge last-minute win against Celtic Dragons, away, with the team undergoing a successful mid-season shakeup after Jade Clarke’s departure.
Mavericks took first centre pass and were quick to take it up to Lightning’s goal to put away the first goal of the game. Hannah Joseph was quick to receive Natalie Panagarry’s centre pass, but Mavericks defensive players were already hot in defence. Both sides were physical from the offset with Jo Trip’s return to the court at GK after last week’s illness. Fantastic interlinking play from Trip to Lauren Nicholls, over to previous Mavericks player Kadeen Corbin who secured Proscovia the ball to put away two goals for the home side. Corbin also scored a goal for Lightning in the first five minutes and soon they were ahead of the imposing Mavericks side.
Captain Ama Agbeze took a fantastic interception and a long shot from Proscovia ensured Lightning made their mark in the first minutes of the half, with Nicholls working wonders in the incredibly physical centre third. Corbin and Proscovia’s chemistry was difficult to miss as the exciting duo put away shot after shot, whilst Agbeze put huge pressure on her opposite player in defence. Lightning’s composure ensured that they took a three-goal lead with five minutes to go in the first half. Mavericks threatened to work their way up the scoreline, but an interception from Corbin guaranteed yet another goal for Lightning. The first quarter ended 15-11 to Lightning.
The crowd in the Sir David Wallace Arena was electric for the second quarter as Lightning began with a four-goal lead over the visiting side. Mavericks were unable to capitalise on their possession from the start as Agbeze intercepted a goal attempt. Mavericks quickly returned the favour against Proscovia at GS. The visiting side seemed to have upped their intensity in the second quarter, but their offensive plays struggled at the hands of Trip and Agbeze. At the centre third, Panagarry was calm and collected as she commanded the court’s action from her position at centre.
Maverick’s discipline wavered in the last ten minutes of the half as challenges between players became more physical. The visiting side took multiple calls from the referee as Corbin and Proscovia were put to the test at goal by their opposite players. Corbin was a fantastic asset in the second quarter and was truly standout in offensive plays. Lightning were enjoying a six-goal lead with five minutes to go of the half with no indication of slowing down. Multiple interceptions shut down almost any attempt at goal by Mavericks in the last two minutes, putting Lightning at a comfortable 8-goal lead.
HT: Loughborough Lightning 27 – 22 Hertfordshire Mavericks
The third quarter kicked off with Panagarry taking first centre pass, with Lightning happily leading into the second half. Clearly the team formula was working well as no changes were made to the side so far through the game, with the coaches showing clear confidence in their side. Panagarry took a fantastic interception in the second minute, with Agbeze offering great supporting play alongside her. Lightning’s lead was shortened to five goals in the third quarter as Mavericks seemed to regained their aggression after a fairly quiet start to the second half.
Grit and determination ensured that Lightning held onto their five-goal lead as the third quarter whittled down to the last five minutes. Agbeze and Corbin had some fantastic plays, with the Agbeze showing unmatched confidence on the court. The Sir David Wallace Arena’s crowd grew louder as the home side made exciting plays in the second half with Proscovia ensuring a healthy number of goals. Joseph at WA was replaced by Vanessa Walker in the eleventh minute of the quarter, bringing newfound energy to the offensive plays. With two minutes to go, Mavericks had a dangerous bout of impressive plays and managed to bring the goal difference down to two-goals between them.
The game took a turn in the final minutes of the third quarter, with Lightning no longer enjoying an impressive lead over their visiting side. Suddenly, both sides were equal and with it all to play for. Walker moved to GA, Panagarry to WA, and Joseph to C with Corbin off the court. Both teams seem to lose composure in the final quarter as discipline dipped. Walker had a fantastic longball to Proscovia who was able to put away goal after goal to put Lightning three-goals ahead in the fourth minute.
Mavericks upped the intensity and were able to beat Lightning’s defensive plays, putting away enough goals to equalised with ten minutes to go of the game. The home crowd’s agitation grew with every passing moment with the sports hall filling with noise. Maverick’s aggression seemed to be paying off as they stole the lead, taking a three-goal lead with seven minutes to go. Nicholls worked exceptionally hard to try and upset the Mavericks onslaught of offensive plays, with Joseph working her opposite player at C.
FT: Loughborough Lightning 48 – 51 Hertfordshire Mavericks
After the game, Karen Atkinson commented:
Its just shocking to let an eight-point lead go, just really disappointed. The Mavericks are in second place for a reason, they’re really resilient, they’ve got confidence in what they’re doing, and I think we just proved today that we have got the capability, the squad, and the skill-level to be beating some of these top-four sides and its just that we have to believe in what we’re doing the entire time.
At 30 – 40 minutes we were competitive and just basic errors were really killing us, and I’ve just spoken about consistency. Its not that we aren’t good enough to be in that top four, but if you aren’t consistent enough you don’t deserve to be there so we have to up our game.
Player of the Match Natalie Panagarry, her second this season, also added:
I’m so grateful for Karen [Atkinson] for picking me, I just want to get on the court each week and try and put the best performance I can for the squad and for myself really, so, its just a bit gutting today. I feel for thrity minutes we played exactly how we wanna play, that’s us, that’s Loughborough Lightning, so maybe we took the foot off the pedal in that third quarter and let them creep back in. I’m really proud of the girls, onwards and upwards! We’ve got Storm next week away, which is a really tough fixture and it’s a really hard venue, but if we play how we did in that first and second quarter we will have a good game.
Loughborough Lightning’s next fixture is at home on Monday 11th of April against Team Northumbria at the David Wallace Arena. Tickets are still available here: http://loughboroughsport.com/loughborough-lightning/fixturesandresults/
GS – Peace Proscovia
GA – Kadeen Corbin
WA – Hannah Joseph
C – Natalie Panagarry
WD – Lauren Nicholls
GD – Ama Agbeze ©
GK – Jo Trip