VNSL 2018 Round 3 – Loughborough Lightning: 69 Celtic Dragons: 45

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Match report courtesy of Loughborough Lightning…

Stepping out in front of an 800 strong crowd, Lightning used their home court advantage to take an early lead, securing the first 6 points of the match within three minutes. Stunned, Dragons were forced to quickly reconcile their losses and prevent the powerful home side from gaining any more advantage and did so with a courageous fight.

Quarter 1: 19 – 11

An almost unchanged side saw the welcome addition of Hannah Joseph to the starting line-up, in her second match back from injury. With Clark and Proscovia seamlessly sinking the shots, it was down to the defensive duo of Sterling and Oyesola to claim the extra opportunities for Lightning.

Half time: 35 – 24

Beginning the second half with a fire in their bellies, Dragons came back fighting. Applying yet more pressure the whole way down the court, Lightning needed to step up a gear to maintain their eleven point lead and did so with a class and determination. A moment of brilliance occurred when a fantastic interception from Harris, which looked to become a dead ball, became the victim of Clark’s extensive reach, thus culminating in a shot. Prevailing to reveal any signs of tiring, Lightning ended the quarter with an even wider lead.

Quarter 3: 52 – 37

Starting the final quarter with a fifteen point lead allowed Lightning the breathing space needed to deploy its eager players from the bench. Changes to the side saw Harris on for Cobden, Grierson on for Joseph and Airey on for Oyseola. It was the final change however that heard the crowd erupt into applause as fan favourite and local talent Britt Coleman took to the court for the first time in over a year after an ACL injury during preseason left her side-lined. Having worked tirelessly for this moment Coleman showed no signs of nerves as her first shot slipped through the net with confidence. Despite changing over 75% of the squad for the last 15 minutes, Lightning continued to dominate the court and the whistle sounded, confirming Lightning’s third win in a row.

Full time: 69 – 45

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