Loughborough Lightning, Surrey Storm and Team Northumbria chalked up Saturday night victories as Round 15 in the Vitality Superleague came to its conclusion.
Wins for Bath and Manchester Thunder in the weekend’s earlier fixtures had opened up the race for a top-four place as Loughborough cashed in with a 59-44 victory over in-form Surrey Stars.
That win means they are level with Wasps at the top of the table but have three games remaining while the defending champions and leaders have four to go after their defeat to Thunder on Saturday afternoon.
Bath’s win over Mavericks on Friday means the top four are now separated by just six points.
Vitality Superleague – Round 15 Results Friday Team Bath 55-45 benecos Mavericks Saturday Manchester Thunder 53-42 Wasps Team Northumbria 58-47 Celtic Dragons Surrey Storm 51-44 UWS Sirens Loughborough Lightning 59-44 Severn Stars
Lightning are finding form at the right time and after ending Wasps perfect start last week, they followed up with a strong performance to sink a determined Stars side for an eighth successive Superleague victory.
Skipper Nat Panagarry was the star turn for Lightning as they recovered from a slow start that saw them turn a first-quarter deficit into a half-time lead.
An inspired third quarter proved pivotal as Lightning’s attacking pair of Hannah Joseph and Peace Proscovia went through the gears to end the quarter with an 11-goal advantage that was enough to see them through the final 15 minutes.
“I’m glad the girls were able to grind out the win, they knew tonight was going to be tough after a long few weeks on the road, but I’m really happy we were able to go out there and achieve the result we wanted,” said Lightning head coach Anna Carter.
“I think coming off the back of a fantastic win at Wasps makes it hard to come back the next week and match that performance; but the girls are learning a lot from these experiences.”
In Saturday’s other two matches, Team Northumbria won the battle of the league’s bottom two, beating Celtic Dragons 58-47 in Newcastle to record their third win of the season.
Surrey Storm also returned to winning ways, ending Sirens hopes of a third successive win with a 51-44 win at Surrey Sports Park that moves them to within three points of sixth-placed Severn Stars.
Vitality Superleague – Round 16 Results Friday Team Bath v Loughborough Lightning Saturday Celtic Dragons v Wasps benecos Mavericks v Manchester Thunder Surrey Storm v Team Northumbria Monday Severn Stars v UWS Sirens Live on Sky Sports
Our live coverage continues on Monday, June 11 when Severn Stars host Sirens live on Sky Sports Mix, Main Event and Action from 6.30pm.
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