Loughborough Lightning secure first home win of the season

Loughborough Lightning marked their first home win of the season with a comeback against Celtic Dragons. Here is their post match review;

Lightning took to the court on the 13th of February to a roaring crowd as they played their first home game of the season at Sir David Wallace sports hall at Loughborough University. Last week, Hertfordshire Mavericks gave the ladies a challenge as they lost 48-44.

Within the first thirteen seconds of the match, Lightning were able to score their first goal of the match with many more to follow. Play quickly moved down towards Lightning’s end though, with the Dragons mounting pressure on their defensive players during the first quarter. With Sasha Corbin’s recent injury putting her out of action for the remainder of the season, Natalie Panagarry controlled the pace at centre on her first start for the team this season.

Dragons offensive play was ruthless as it challenged the Lightning defence at every opportunity. Goal shooter Peace Proscovia made light work of putting away points for Lightning when possession was in their hands. As the first quarter wound down, Lightning worked hard to chip away at Dragon’s defence to even out the scoreboard, but Dragons lead 12-16 at the end of the first quarter.

Dragon’s shooter Georgia Rowe was on form as Lightning were once again met with aggression from the away team at the start of the second quarter. Captain Jade Clarke moved to her more natural position of centre, with Panagarry moving back into wing defence. The intensity of the game upped in the second quarter, with end-to-end performances from both teams.

Vanessa Walker, a student at Loughborough University studying Sports Management, found her rhythm in the second quarter putting a few points away for Lightning.

HT – Loughborough Lightning 28 – 32 Celtic Dragons.

The second half kicked off with Lauren Nicholls coming on for Panagerry and Kadeen Corbin making her debut for Lightning in goal attack replacing Walker. Lightning’s defence worried the Dragon’s offensive players as there were three interceptions by Loughborough in the first two minutes of the half. The substitutions made at half time clearly brought a newfound energy to the court as Lightning worked tirelessly to level out the scoreline.

Five minutes into the third quarter, Proscovia was a key player in putting Lightning level with Dragons for the first time in the game. Kadeen Corbin, making her Lightning debut, looked lively as Lightning began to pull away in the latter half of the third quarter, the England star adding points to the board at goal attack. Goal keeper Jo Trip’s physical style of play inherited from the ANZ was key in the several interceptions that Lightning enjoyed in the second half.

The fourth quarter began with a succession of quick plays from Lightning landing several more points on the board, with Corbin at goal attack rapidly becoming a key player in Lightning’s domination during the second half. Dragon’s seemingly impenetrable defence in the first half was slowly worn down by Lightning’s offensive plays. At wing attack, Hannah Joseph worked hard to give Proscovia and Corbin every opportunity possible to score. On the other end of the court, Ama Agbeze at goal defence worked hard to upset the Dragon’s attacking plays.

With two minutes of the final quarter to go, the score line rested precariously at 54-52 to Lightning, but quick work from the captain Jade Clarke at centre meant that possession of the ball was retained by the Loughborough ladies. A late flurry of Lightning goals saw the team in purple extend the lead, and by the final buzzer, Lightning had stolen victory and won their first home game of the season.

Full of confidence from her England debut last month, Hannah Joseph was named player of the match, thanks to some dynamic link-up play through in the attacking third of the court.

FT – Lougborough Lightning 58 – 53 Celtic Dragons.

Of the team’s performance Head Coach Karen Atkinson said:

At times today Liv and I were sat there wondering who the team were on the court, as it was nowhere near the standard we’ve been seeing in training or in the last couple of matches. Although we got the win, which is massively important, I was just really disappointed with the overall performance.

Credit to Dragons though, they started really well and they’ve clearly upped their game and their discipline from the last couple of games. They deserved to compete for the win, which they almost took from us.

Lightning are back in action on Monday night as they take on Manchester Thunder. Get your tickets to that game, which is also at home at the David Wallace Sports Hall here:

Starting Seven:
GK – Jo Trip
GD – Ama Agbeze
WD – Jade Clark ©
C – Natalie Panagarry
WA – Hannah Joseph
GA – Vanessa Walker
GS – Peace Proscovia
Kadeen Corbin
Harriet Gill
Lauren Massey
Lauren Nicholls
Rachel Sweet