SEVERN Stars head coach Sam Bird lauded her side’s ‘determination and resilience’ as they staged a late comeback to edge out the Celtic Dragons 53-52 in the Vitality Superleague.
Five goals down with the just the final quarter to go, Stars put on an impressive nine-goal run to put the game beyond their opponents at the Sport Wales National Centre in Cardiff on Saturday (March 30).
“We started the match really well, but Dragons came back hard at us and we lost our structure for a while,” said Bird.
“The players responded so well and clawed their way back into the match and put out an amazing nine goal run together in the last quarter. I’m delighted with their determination and resilience to take the win.”
Both teams went out hard from the start, but Stars took an early 3-1 lead and stretched that to four points, taking advantage of Dragons’ misses.
But a mis-fired feed into the shooters allowed Dragons to get a goal back and they were able to make the most of their momentum to end the quarter even, at 14-14.
The second quarter started with the teams neck and neck, but a great defensive tip from Stars’ defensive unit and conversion from shooter Georgia Rowe left them 19-17 ahead. Despite an incredible rebound from Stars’ defender
Sam Cook, Stars were unable to take advantage and Dragons closed the gap to 22-all.
Dragons managed to pull a few goals clear every couple of minutes, but Stars would answer back and fight for turnovers. Stars’ fumbling of the ball and failures to capitalise from precious turnovers meant the half-time interval come with Dragons ahead, 31-27.
Although the third quarter began with two goals from Stars, they were unable to take their next centre pass to goal and Dragons capitalised to move 33-29 ahead.
Dragons then went on a five-goal run with Stars unable to answer back. The Stars players seemed to lose energy and momentum, though there were still promising signs with better retention of the ball.
The quarter ended with Dragons 44-39 in front.
However, in the final quarter, Stars gained momentum and went nine goals in a row unanswered.
It was 47-47 with seven minutes to go but patience in Stars’ attack pushed them 51-48 in front with four minutes left.
They played smarter and, knowing they were in front, were comfortable keeping possession. With a minute left to go Dragons tried to make up the deficit but it ended 52-53 to Stars.
Stars face the Strathclyde Sirens at the University of Gloucestershire Arena on Saturday (6pm).