After a break in the season for the Commonwealth Games, Lightning took to the court in front of a packed home crowd at Leicester Arena to face Benecos Mavericks.
It was a scrappy start to the opening quarter for Lightning, a few unforced errors handed possession to Mavericks who capitalised immediately taking a 4-0 lead. Lightning quickly steadied themselves and after a few fantastic interceptions by Sterling and Oyesola pulled it back to within two. The quarter continued with both teams battling hard for possession however Mavericks’s great start meant they went into quarter time ahead by two goals.
Quarter 1: Loughborough Lightning 11 – 13 Benecos Mavericks
A refreshed Lightning side found their rhythm early in the second quarter, moving the ball through the court with ease to find the safe hands of Proscovia. Continued pressure in defence from the dynamic duo of Sterling and Oyesola saw Lightning storm ahead of the visitors to take a 6 goal lead by half time.
Half-time: Loughborough Lightning 27 – 21 Benecos Mavericks
Within the first play of the third quarter Nicholls took a flying interception, quickly feeding it back up the court to a waiting Proscovia. Fantastic feeds from both Joseph and Panagarry saw the score line rocket as Clark slotted long range shots effortlessly. Changes in the quarter saw Harris seamlessly replace Nicholls in the WD position as Lightning stepped up the pace and extended their lead to 14 goals.
Quarter 3: Loughborough Lighting 43 – 29 Benecos Mavericks
The final fifteen minutes saw Lightning up the pressure on Mavericks yet again. With the centre court pairing of Panagarry and Joseph working like clockwork, shooters Clark and Proscovia where fed the ball with ease. Changes came towards the end of the quarter with Coleman, Airey and Grierson replacing Clark, Oyesola and Panagarry. With fresh legs came a new serge of energy from the Lightning team and with neither side letting up the pressure a physical last few minutes was had. In the final play of the game a cool and collected Coleman shot from distance to secure Lightning a 14 goal win over rivals Mavericks.
Final score: Loughborough Lightning 54 – 41 Benecos Mavericks
Head Coach Anna Carter was excited to share her thoughts on such a great performance from the whole squad;
“I’m really pleased with the girls tonight, it’s a great platform to build upon going into this next important phase of the season. The girls have been working hard in this time off to improve their individual skills and achieve personal goals, which will only improve us as a team”
After an outstanding shooting performance, Ella Clark earned the coveted title of Lighting MVP award in front
packed home crowd.
“It felt great to be back out there with the girls, especially in the circle with Peace. Having the girls back in the squad after Commonwealth Games has been amazing and I cant wait for the rest of the season.”
Lightning are back in action at Loughborough University on Saturday 5th May 2018, welcoming Team Northumbria, to campus. Tickets are on sale now. www.loughboroughlightning.com