Surrey Storm were beaten by Leeds Rhinos 50-44 in Round 3 of the 2021 Vitality Netball Superleague.
Despite Mikki Austin returning to court for the first time this season, she was unable to prevent an attacking onslaught from Rhea Dixon against her former club to secure the win for Dan Ryan’s Rhinos side.
Leah Middleton started the game with a quick turnover to give Storm the upper hand.
Rhinos returned the favour with an interception of their own to level the score within the first minute.
Neither side were able to pull away in the opening period, as a defensive battle ensued – both teams were forcing interceptions.
Rhinos scored with two seconds remaining in the opening quarter to lead 13-12.
Some impressive defensive plays from Alima Priest and Leah Middleton prevented Rhea Dixon from having an impact in the second quarter against her former club.
But Rhinos did an excellent job on the defensive end themselves to force back-to-back turnovers by Frankie Wells, which were converted into goals on the other end.
Priest forced another turnover which sparked a five goal run for Storm, who took a 24-20 lead with 90 seconds left in the half.
Rhinos scored with a second to play in the first half, narrowing the lead to 25-23 at half-time.
Storm Player/Coach Mikki Austin entered the fray at the beginning of the second half, making her first appearance of the 2021 VNSL season.
Her presence was quickly felt as her combination with Wing Attack Yasmin Parsons fuelled an attacking flurry for Surrey Storm.
Rhinos held their nerve and took the lead with a minute to play in the third quarter, the first time they led the game since the opening period.
Rhinos headed into the final quarter with a 35-32 lead.
Dan Ryan’s Leeds side extended their lead to five goals within the opening minute of the fourth quarter.
Rhea Dixon took control of the final quarter as she dominated in attack for Rhinos, as their lead stretched further to seven goals.
Surrey Storm left themselves with too much to do in the final quarter, as Leeds Rhinos ran out 50-44 winners on Sunday afternoon.
Mikki Austin’s side are back in action tomorrow evening as they take on Celtic Dragons live on Sky Sports.