A LATE fightback from Hertfordshire Mavericks saw Severn Stars fall to an agonising 48-45 defeat in dramatic fashion in the Vitality Netball Superleague on Saturday.
Head coach Mo’onia Gerrard’s side held the lead until the final 90 seconds of the game at the Hertfordshire Sports Village, but they eventually succumbed to the hosts’ relentless pressure.
In a fiery opening quarter, the visitors quickly took the advantage as goal shooter Eleanor Cardwell’s lethal shots found the target, but Mavericks edged back into the game to pull within one-point entering the second period.
The hosts then nudged two points ahead as Vicklyn Joseph dominated under the basket to build a 28-22 half-time lead.
Gerrard made a tactical switch during the interval which saw her take to the court at centre, with captain Laura Malcolm being moved to wing attack.
That proved to be the catalyst for an impressive third-quarter comeback from the Worcester outfit, as they overturned a seven-point deficit to haul themselves back into the lead, with Cardwell scoring four consecutive goals to open a 36-34 advantage.
Stars stretched their lead further in a frantic opening to the final quarter, after neat interplay between Gerrard and Malcolm allowed goal attack Iona Darroch to net, before Cardwell bagged a quick-fire double to push the visitors’ lead to four points.
But Mavericks rallied and patient attacking play saw them to turn the game on its head, as Vicklyn Joseph’s sharp shooting chipped away at the deficit.
Momentum swung firmly in the favour of the hosts in the final few minutes, which saw Joseph net coolly from underneath the basket to edge Hertfordshire 46-45 in front.
With less than a minute on the clock, she then scored another goal to put the game beyond doubt.
Gerrard said: “From the really disappointing effort last week, it was a massive turnaround. The way we went about our business on court with that intensity and passion showed we fought for every ball.
“We knew it was going to be tough away from home. It was important to have that fightback after the performance last week.
“We connected much more on court as a team over the four quarters, but we’ve still got a lot to work on.”
Stars host league leaders Loughborough Lightning at the University of Worcester Arena on Saturday (tip off 7.30pm).