Surrey Storm completed their first victory of the Superleague season with a home win against Yorkshire Jets 74-51 on Saturday night.
A dominant 2nd and 3rd quarters for Storm handed them an unassailable lead as Jets failed to assert the same dominance that they showed in round one.
With Greenway selecting a different starting 7 from the match versus Thunder, Austin was given her first start, whilst Ainsworth moved from the centre position to wing defence.
The first quarter saw a shaky start from Storm, with Jets using their new transfer, Lottysha Cato to their advantage by launching high balls into the circle and edging forward by 3 goals. However, after a successful feed from Austin into Dunn, Storm took to the scoreboard, and commenced their attack on the visiting team. With a flying interception by Holland off a Jets’ centre pass, Storm suddenly gained momentum and Cookey was able to close the gap by one goal, making the score 6-7 to Jets. Following a couple of minutes of disjointed play, a brilliant interception from Reid allowed Greenway to throw her favourite long pass into Dunn, who took the game to 11-all. Some great feeding from Austin into her two shooters gave Storm the scope to edge forward, helped by a no-goal call for Cato on the final whistle of the quarter, leaving the score at 16-14 Storm.
A rushed first centre pass from Storm in Quarter 2 saw an immediate Jets turnover and the ball in their possession, but with a quick roll around her defenders, Cookey managed to draw out the lead to one again. Despite an initial Jets comeback, two intercepts from Reid and Ainsworth saw Storm creep slowly ahead 23-20. After tough pressure from Storm mid-court, the duck egg army begun to utilise the long ball far more, with Cookey and Greenway launching balls from distance into Dunn, creating the biggest lead of the game. Despite consistent obstruction calls against Jets, Storm kept pressing on in their quest to advance their lead, working quickly and efficiently down court to allow the hosts to extend their lead to 38-25 at half time.
Quarter 3 saw some shuffling of the Storm side, with Amy Flanagan replacing Ainsworth at WD, Reid moving up court to GD, and Josie Huckle coming on at GK. Within seconds Huckle had already stated her presence on the court, converting the first ball into Jets’ circle.
Despite this, Storm appeared to be having trouble settling as Jets tried to capitalise on unforced errors across the court, narrowing the score 53-35. However yet another turnover from Greenway with a one-handed tip saw Storm racing once again to the goal, with Cookey diverting the defence and a long ball being pinged into Dunn who was able to sneak a final goal in the dying seconds of the quarter, and bringing the score to 56-38.
Kiwi Laurelle Borck arrived on court in the final quarter and Storm started the quarter with some defensive disruption, but a few unfortunate misjudgements on ball placement and a couple of missed shots cost Storm a strong start. With tensions running high between the two teams on court in Storm’s attacking end, Storm fuelled their friction with some quick attacking play, running away with the lead 65-46. Playing now like the seasoned players they are known to be, Cookey showed her England calibre and use of speed to drive hard along the baseline to receive the ball under the post. Whilst Storm’s attacking end was building consistently, Huckle was proving problematic for Cato, winning a number of balls with ease.
The quarter was concluded by a Storm signature move with Greenway launching the ball from mid-court into the shooting circle resulting in a goal. Which handed Storm a comfortable victory with the score of 74-51.
Storm will next face Team Bath on Monday 9th February which will be aired live on Sky Sports 2 from 7:30pm.
Storm player of the match: Mikki Austin
Storm starting line-up:
GA – Cookey
WA – Greenway
C – Austin
WD – Ainsworth
GD – Holland
GK – Reid
Subs: Lees, Huckle, Borck, Flanagan, Hayes
Changes: Flanagan to WD, Reid to GD, Huckle to GK, Borck to C
Yorkshire Jets line-up:
GS – Cato
GA – Smith
WA – Haythornwaite
C – Shaw
WD – Butters
GD – Potter
G – Keenan
Subs: Grierson, Wilson, Walker, Skingsley, Clark
Storm: Dunn 58/67, 87%; Cookey 16/20, 80%; Team: 74/87, 85%.
Jets: Cato 48/51, 94%; Smithe 0/2, 0%; Haythorntwaite, 3/3, 100%; Team: 51/56, 92%.