Severn Stars’ Head Coach, Sam Bird, was “thrilled” with her side as they took their second win in four days from Surrey Storm and recorded back-to-back wins in an impressive 51-42 away victory.
Surrey started the game in fighting fashion, but Stars held their cool and limited their opponents to only eight goals in the second quarter allowing them to take control of the game. A dominant defensive performance and clinical shooting helped the visitors overcome the home side.
“I’m thrilled with the performance and two wins in four days against a strong Surrey Storm side,” said Bird.
“The team were clinical throughout and responded well when Storm came out firing early on.”
Stars found themselves on the back foot at Surrey Sports Park as Storm came out firing early in the first quarter, quickly opening up a 6-1 lead. But the superb defensive trio of Jodie Gibson, Sam Cook and Phumza Maweni produced multiple defensive stops, which allowed the visitors to quickly pull themselves back to within four goals of the hosts.
Stars grew into the game and with only minutes left in the quarter Captain Laura Malcolm found goal attack Markya Holtzhausen with a beautifully placed ball to bring the Stars within two goals of Storm.
Eleanor Cardwell, at goal shooter, stepped up at the end of the quarter with a huge long-range shot to pull the Stars ahead for the first time in the game and to ensure that the team edged ahead at the end of the first quarter, leading 11-10.
Stars put on a dazzling performance in the second quarter, limiting the home side to eight goals as Stars defensive trio Gibson, Cook and Maweni turned up the pressure, frustrating the Storm attack.
Storm had no answer for Stars’ shooter Cardwell as she hit five consecutive shots early on to pull the Stars ahead in the second quarter. Stars took control of the game from here on, going into the half-time break with a deserved 27-18 lead.
Maweni and Cook continued to shine in defence, invigorated by the introduction of Becky Oatley at wing defence, as they limited attacking chances for the hosts in the third quarter.
Attacking duo Laura Malcolm and Iona Darroch proved to be problematic for the Storm defence, which allowed Stars to increase their lead and end the third quarter leading 40-29.
Final quarter changes going into the final quarter saw Malcolm and Darroch switched to wing defence and centre respectively and Laura Rudland brought into the fray at wing.
Rudland made an instant impact on the game with a beautiful ball into Cardwell who opened up the scoring, which paved the way for Stars to increase their lead to 15 goals.
Storm threatened to hit back, reducing the gap to 10 and looked to push on, but a stunning tip from Sam Cook prevented Storm from scoring a crucial goal.
At the other end Malcolm and Rudland combined to find Cardwell in the circle, who put the game out of reach of the hosts as Stars went on to win 51-42.
Bird said: “Storm struggled to break down our defence, they were disciplined and limited Storm to eight goals in the second quarter. Jodie Gibson was back in the starting line-up and played extremely well, as did Sam Cook and Phumza Maweni who were really solid.
“Our attacking line were really clinical going to goal with great shooting from both shooters and excellent service from the midcourt.
“It was a strong performance from all nine players that took to the court.”
Tickets for the next home game against UWS Sirens on June 11 (7pm) are available at www.severnstars.co.uk
Photo Credit: Steve Porter Photography