A table topping Loughborough Lightning team sealed the fate of Surrey Storm last night with a 71-63 win over the visiting side.
Storm had it all to play for, with Bath’s loss to Wasps earlier in the evening, only a win against Lightning could secure their place at Final Four.
Lightning started strong, turning over Storms first centre pass and converted by the reliably on form Proscovia. Storm fought back; play swung up and down the court with goals galore.
With 4 minutes left on the clock time was stopped as Clarke went down, injuring her knee, Walker took over the GA bib. The change did not phase the Lightning attack with Walker instantly showing her great vision into the circle to feed her fellow shooter Proscovia.
Quarter 1: 17-17
Lightning started the second quarter strong with 3 goals in succession, the attack finding Proscovia with ease in the circle.
The play flowed through centre court with the trio of Cobden, Panagarry and Joseph showing they are a force to be reckoned with. With changes in defence to the Lightning line up came two quick turnovers from Trip who moved to GK and Oyesola at GD.
With a final flourish from the Lightning attack they left the court at half time with a 4 goal lead.
Quarter 2: 35-31
Storm knew they had 30 minutes to change their fate and came out hard in the third quarter. Physical play from both sides made for a very exciting game.
However it was Lightning’s dynamic play through the court that prevailed. The ball found its way with ease to the magic hands of Proscovia under the post.
Continuously applying the pressure throughout the court, Lightning’s defence were rewarded with Cobden and Oyesola turning over ball in quick succession. Lightning left the court with just 15 minutes to play and a 6 goal lead.
Quarter 3: 53-47
Gibbons back on at GK and Trip to GD to start the quarter, play resumed with both teams taking the ball to goal every centre pass.
Panagarry dominated the circle edge firing in balls to the shooters. Harris replaced Cobden at WD and instantly got stuck into the action. Oyesola also replaced Gibbons and Mason for Joseph as Lightning streaked ahead in the final few minutes. A final push from lightning saw them extend their lead to 8 and seal Storms fate.
Final score: 71-63
Speaking of the game and looking forward to next weekend Head Coach Karen Atkinson said;
“We have been preparing for next week, taking every single game as if it is the semi-final, and the girls did exactly that. Today was such a tough game against a really quality Storm side. It was a real squad performance, which is what it has been all year.
I would like to thank the fans who have shown a huge amount of support for the girls this season. It was fantastic to end the season here, ready for next weekend. The girls are really excited and we hope we can deliver on back to back days next weekend.”
After yet another outstanding performance in the shooting circle Peace Proscovia was named MVP.
With the win over Storm, Lightning now confirm that they will be playing Team Bath in their first game of the Final Four next week. Make sure you get your tickets for next week to support Lightning compete for the coveted title in Birmingham. Tickets are selling fast so secure yours now.