Battling Thunder run out of steam
Swords Thunder 54 Trinity Meteors 71
Swords Thunder ladies battled hard but ultimately fell short against a very talented Trinity Meteors side in this National League Division 1 clash played at ALSAA on Saturday evening.
Trinity have lost just twice all season and are battling for top spot in the Northern Conference of Division 1 along with Ulster University Elks.
The battle for the leadership is now well and truly a two-horse race, with both the Meteors and the Elks a massive nine points clear of third-placed Phoenix Rockets.
With all that in mind Thunder knew they were in for a tough challenge against a side that beat them 83-61 back in October.
Swords came into the game off the back of two defeats against the UL Huskies and Fabplus North West. However, there was some cause for optimism as both defeats were close affairs and produced some excellent passages of play from the Fingal side.
Peggy Black has been a key player for Thunder this season and she once again led the line here at the ALSAA with a couple of early scores to get her side up and running.
However, Trinity possessed two potent weapons in the shape of New Yorker Simone Hobdy and Sue Fogarty and both ladies proved difficult to stop in the opening quarter as the Meteors took the lead early on.
Swords Thunder responded well, though, and finished the first quarter in style - with four baskets without reply - to roar into a 23-15 lead as the opening buzzer sounded.
Peggy Black was ably assisted by Tia Kelly Stephens and Anna Brennan during that opening quarter, where the home side showed they were certainly not going to roll over for the joint league leaders.
Trinity began the second period with fire in their bellies, though, and within five minutes had wiped out that early Swords lead thanks to some excellent scores from Hobdy, including a three from distance.
Swords refused to buckle, however, and they kept with the Meteors as both sides traded scores during a fast and furious second quarter.
Peggy Black's excellent two whilst under severe pressure was welcomed loudly by the crowd as Thunder regained the lead towards the end of the second quarter. However, right on the buzzer Trinity got their noses back in front thanks to a well-taken score from Fogarty which put the visitors 32-31 ahead at half-time.
Having put in such an effort in that second quarter Thunder visibly began to slow down during the third as Trinity finally began to get on top.
Hobdy and Fogarty were beginning to find more space now, while Peggy Black and Tia Kelly Stephens weren't seeing as much of the ball. A run of eight points without reply saw Trinity finish the third quarter with a useful-looking 51-40 lead.
Swords scored the first two baskets of the final quarter to give their supporters hope, but it proved to be a false dawn as Trinity finished the game strongly to eventually win by 17 points.
Speaking of 17 points, that was the individual tally accumulated by Swords' Peggy Black, while Tia Kelly Stephens finished with 10 points and Anna Brennan seven.
Meteors' leading scorers Hobdy and Sue Fogarty, both with 15, couldn't quite match the feats of Peggy Black, while Sarah Kenny (11 points) also reached double figures for the away side.