Surrey Storm fell to a narrow 41-43 defeat to local rivals London Pulse in a hugely exciting clash at the Copper Box Arena on Monday evening.
Mikki Austin’s side were looking to complete the double over Pulse following their win on the opening day of the VNSL season, but they just came up short in an extremely tight affair.
Storm started the game with plenty of energy following their two-week break, but it was Pulse who opened up a five-point lead early on courtesy of some quick attacking play.
However, Mikki Austin’s side battled back to make it 7-7 with some clinical finishing coupled with Leah Middleton and Alima Priest’s excellent defensive exploits.
The score line was 10-10 at the end of the second quarter, and Storm gained momentum from their early fight-back as they opened up a 16-11 lead soon later with Emma Magee proving effective in attack on her return to the side.
Pulse then managed to close this margin before the interval with a strong finish to the half, and this meant the game was finely poised at 21-21 heading into the break.
The scores remained tight throughout the third quarter as Storm continued to display strong transitional play, but moments of individual quality from Pulse ensured there was just one point in it as Storm took a 32-21 lead into the final quarter.
Pulse then managed to pull away into a four-point lead through a string of patient attacking moves despite the best efforts of Middleton and Priest in the Storm defence.
Storm did close the margin to just two points before the game drew to a conclusion, but ultimately the clock ran out as Pulse sealed revenge following Storm’s win in the previous meeting.
Austin’s side must now dust themselves down and prepare for another two matches this week as they face Celtic Dragons and Severn Stars over the weekend.