Surrey too strong for Lightning
12 February 2010
Surrey Storm completed their eighth victory on the bounce with a 53-38 win over Loughborough Lightning last night at Guildford Spectrum.
It was the last time Storm Skipper Sonia Mkoloma and Geva Mentor would don their Storm home dresses before making the move to the ANZ Championships down under and both were given a rapturous applause by the home crowd at the start of the match.
It was not a vintage Storm performance by any means and as expected Lightning Coach Olivia Murphy had done her homework preparing Loughborough well. Storm started out of the blocks slowly whilst Lightning and their England shooter Jo Harten set the pace for the visitors but after some good defensive throughcourt work by Storm and nice finishing, Surrey took the lead early in to the first break by 15-9.
Storm’s England circle defence normally outshine the oppositions but Lightning’s Under 19 Goal Keeper Layla Guscoth started to come in to her own making impressive flying interceptions and forcing plenty of turnover ball giving Storm’s goal machine Rachel Dunn one of her toughest tests this season.
A close 2nd quarter saw Lightning pull the deficit back to just five goals at one point but Storm just pipped the period by one goal, half time, 25-18.
Head Coach Mary Beardwood made some changes in the break and Storm came out with far more intent and gusto in the second half with Becky Nash adding some steel and purpose to the mid court. Guscoth continued to impress in defence but despite her efforts Rachel Dunn only missed two shots in the second half and remained as consistant and unflappable as ever. Lightning certainly pushed Storm to the end with England’s Jo Harten a constant threat but the outcome rarely looked in doubt and Storm used their experience and power to see out the 53-38 win. 17 year old Guscoth was named Sky Sports Co-operative player of the match but her opponent Dunn still secured an 89% shooting percentage, Dunn certainly had less opportunities than normal but once again when she got them, she delivered as consistently as ever.
Two wins in four days for Storm sees them remain top of the league, something Head Coach Mary Beardwood is happy to take after yet another demanding week on her squad; “A win is a win” she stated. “All credit to Lightning, particularly Layla Guscoth who turned over ball after ball and dominated our shooting circle in the early stages of the game”. She added: “We were off the pace and I think the Glasgow match on Monday took its toll. Many players went straight back to work and have had little rest. We weren’t sharp and Loughborough chased down a lot of ball but on the positive, it’s our 8th win of the season and we still won by 15 goals and showed our class after our lead was reduced to 5. Sometimes it does you good to re evaluate and we will train harder ready for Mavericks a week Friday”.
England and Storm defender Geva Mentor added; “It was a slower start than we would have wanted and took us a while to get in to the game but everyone took accountability and pulled through”, after her last home performance before moving to Adelaide Thunderbirds down under she added; “It’s sad it was the last home game for me but great to have a good crowd and to get the win”.
England team mate and Storm Skipper Sonia Mkoloma who moves to Sydney at the end of the month to play for the Swifts stated; “The last home match came round really quickly, it’s all gone so fast, I’ve loved our crowds and The Troopers! I wish I could have been able to stay to see our progress. I’ll be keeping an eye on the girls and keeping in touch and I know they have it in them to continue in the way in which we have started, next focus for us though before I leave is Mavericks, it’s another crucial match for us and we must keep our minds on the job”.