.Manchester Thunder powered to a comfortable win over Surrey Storm in their last away game of the regular Superleague season.
Coach Karen Greig was pleased with the ‘class’ of her players tonight, and for the opportunity to see all 12 of her squad take to the court.
“I’m really happy with that. For 95 per cent of the game we played with some real class,” she said
“The intensity and purpose was there from the first whistle and we carried that right through for the majority of the game.
“The players stuck to gameplan and we tweaked a few things, and started to get a lot more turnover ball and that showed with a 12-0 start at the start of the third quarter.”
Thunder patiently played their way into the game, with a steady and controlled tempo, doing the basics by the book and waiting for Surrey errors.
And once they came, Thunder were in particularly bullish mood, moving the ball with urgency from defence to attack, with Kerry Almond and Emma Dovey trading intercepts.
Thunder’s attacking players rewarded the duo’s efforts with some slick passing and skill, once again spearheaded by Liana Leota at wing attack.
Storm had regrouped during the break and forced Thunder into using the whole of the court to get the ball into their shooters.
But Thunder adapted well and Joyce Mvula was particularly hungry for every ball and to attempt every shot.
She showed super movement to peel away from her marker, as her shooting partner Kathryn Turner continued to play an efficient role beside her.
The Black and Yellows were threatening to dominate across court and Storm were starting to struggle to contain them in the centre court, especially.
Thunder pushed their advantage to take a 16-goal (22-38) lead into half time. It was all going to plan so far.
Thunder passed the ball like it was a hot potato straight from the whistle, Storm just couldn’t get near them and they rapidly opened up their lead to 27 goals.
In return, Storm failed to score for the first eight minutes of the third period.
The hosts tried to close the gap but their efforts were n vain as they met a concrete wall in the shape of Dovey and Almond.
Thunder’s healthy lead allowed coach Karen Greig to rotate her squad, as all 12 players took to the court in the final period.
The changes disrupted their fluidity a tad and Storm rallied, finishing with a flourish, but it did not gloss over Thunder’s overall dominance.
Thunder now head into their final home game against Team Bath in confident mood, with a home semi-final spot at stake.
Coach’s player of the match: Joyce Mvula
Karen Greig said of the goal shooter: “Joyce has been growing all season and I think for the last seven or eight games, she#s been absolutely phenomenal. She is playing games like she is loving life at the minute, which is fantastic.”
Q1: 12- 21
Starting 7: GK Almond, GD Dovey, WD Carter, C O’Hanlon, WA Leota, GA Turner, GS Mvula #SSvThu