SEVERN Stars left themselves with too much to do as Saracens Mavericks’ sizeable first-quarter lead set them on their way to a 61-45 Superleague win in Hatfield.
In contrast to when the two teams met two weeks ago, when Stars who led by six after the first quarter but ultimately saw that overturned, this time it was Mavericks who gained an early advantage.
Despite Stars pulling the deficit back at times, Mavericks were always able to get back on track and keep ahead.
Stars’ Nia Jones said: “In contrast to round one, our first quarter really let us down. We were chasing the game and even though the next three quarters were competitive, we left ourselves with too much to do.”
Stars had headed to Hertfordshire on Saturday after a strong performance against Manchester Thunder under their belt ready to right the wrongs from the previous battle with Mavericks.
Both teams were quick out of the blocks and set a rapid pace from the first whistle.
Despite a steady few goals from Stars’ goal attack, Paige Reed, and a flying intercept from Ella Powell-Davies,
Mavericks were quick to hit back, spurred on by their home crowd at the Hertfordshire Sports Village. At the end of the first quarter the home team led 19-8.
The subsequent quarters brought multiple changes, with coach Melissa Bessell making full use of her Stars squad.
Georgia Rowe came in at goal shooter at the start of the second quarter. Stars’ defensive unit earned the team multiple turnovers, notably Malawi international, Towera Vinkhumbo, with her trademark fly out from the circle.
Stars found their flow and, at one point, brought the deficit back to within five goals of their opponents, at 22-17. But Mavericks dug in and were able to pull away, with the score 34-22 at the end of the second quarter.
Bessell rang the changes after the interval, with Lucy Harris at centre, Reed at goal attack and Ama Agbeze at goal defence.
Stars found their flow again during the third quarter, bringing the deficit back to only seven, but after a flurry of
Mavericks goals in the last few minutes the quarter ended 46-34. Heading into the final 15 minutes, despite each and every player putting their body on the line, Stars had left it too late, with the scoreline finishing 61-45.
Bessell said: “Our first quarter was not how we wanted to start. We did not take full advantage of our turnovers to goal. The game was lost in the first quarter and every other quarter afterwards was fairly contested but just not enough to pull it back.”
Stars now look ahead to their next home game against Wasps Netball at the University of Worcester Arena on Saturday (6pm).