Loughborough Lightning secured a record breaking tenth win on the trot after a 49 – 40 victory over Team Bath on Easter Monday.
With both teams firing on all cylinders right from the word go, the audience were clearly in for a treat. After three defeats in a row, visitors Team Bath were eager to bounce back, quickly applying their famous pace and physicality to Lightning’s attack, taking the first two points of the night.
Eager to rectify Saturday’s slow start against Stars, Lightning easily matched their pace, whilst tightening their defensive line to put pressure on the Bath circle. With just five minutes left in the opening quarter, seamless interceptions from Cobden and Oyesola allowed Lightning to push past the visitors to take the lead 11 – 8.
The game far from over, a determined Lightning returned to the court for the second quarter. Whilst Lightning’s defence continued to dominate the opposition’s circle, their mid court strength was soon required to support the shooters who were beginning to feel the pressure.
Arguably one of the country’s best defenders, Team Bath’s Eboni Beckford-Chambers made it her mission to keep star shooter Peace Proscovia out of the game. But all was not lost, with smooth feeds from Joseph and Panagarry, Jamaican international, Walker, stepped up to the plate and treated the crowd to her famous long bombs.
Q2: 24 – 15
An unchanged side returned for the second half. Lightning, keen to retain their upper hand, quickly found their rhythm once again. Defensive duo Trip and Oysola worked tirelessly to deliver those all-important turnovers, whilst Joseph and Panagarry opened up the attacking end, allowing Walker and Proscovia to find their range and extend their lead by 11 points.
Q3: 36 – 28
The final moments of a tremendous evening saw Lightning press down on the accelerator once more in front of an 800 strong crowd. Lightning reactions from Cobden saw her gain the upper hand on fellow Roses teammate Rachel Shaw, whilst Trip and Oyesola continued to run down the visitors attack. A continuously spirited side in blue saw Team Bath close the gap by two points, before running out of time, eventually falling to defeat at the final whistle.
Final Score: 49 – 40
Lightning’s win cements their place at the top of the Vitality Superleague and completes a victorious Easter weekend for Karen Atkinson’s girls. Eager to share her joy in the wake of the game, Karen spoke highly of her team’s success;
“It’s nice to be undefeated but I think what’s pleasing is that the girls are building each round. The exciting thing about this league is that you can’t take any team for granted – it’s been a different challenge each week. I’m really pleased with how the girls attacked the game tonight, working really hard for each other in both attack and defence.”
Claiming the coveted MVP title, England star Beth Cobden shared her excitement;
“It’s such a great team, and there’s such a great vibe which makes it so easy to come to training each day. We have such a great spirit and tonnes of support for each other and I think it really shows when we step out on court.”
Lightning are now gearing up for their highly anticipated showcase match which takes place on Saturday 29th April at Leicester Arena.
Welcoming Wasps to the East Midlands for the first time, Lightning would like to invite you all to join them for the top of the table clash. Tickets are selling fast so get yours now: www.loughboroughlightning.com