Bendigo Bank Spirit Share Load Again In WNBL Win Over Canberra Capitals

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A shared load at the offensive end again helped steer the Bendigo Bank Spirit to their third win in a row in the WNBL with a 12-point victory over Canberra on Saturday night.

The Spirit gained the upper hand of the contest at the Bendigo Stadium during the second quarter on the way to a 70-58 victory to move to 5-2 for the season.

In what has become a trait over the first seven games of the season, the Spirit spread their work offensively, with four of their starters scoring in double figures.

Import Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe continued her consistent form with 22 points – a season-high for the Spirit – while also hauling down eight rebounds.

Kelsey Griffin added 14 points to go with 12 rebounds in what was her second double-double of the season, with two of her points coming with an offensive rebound tip-in on the half-time buzzer to give Bendigo a 37-29 lead at the main break.

After her interrupted pre-season Gabe Richards continues to get better and her contribution of 13 points and nine rebounds was telling, while the Spirit also had Ashleigh Karaitiana add 10 points.

While the Spirit were never headed from early in the second term after Raincock-Ekunwe put them up 19-17, Bendigo was unable to shake off the Capitals until the final term.

Bendigo led 51-43 at three quarter-time, before the Capitals cut the deficit to six when Lauren Mansfield scored the opening points of the last term.

But they were the only points the Capitals scored for the first 5:29 of the final quarter, while down the other end an 8-0 run propelled Bendigo’s lead out to a game-high 14 points.

Griffin scored four of those points, while also dishing off an assist to Blake Dietrick during the game-breaking run.

The third quarter also included an 8-0 run by the Spirit, while at one stage during the second quarter they outscored the Capitals 17-5 after Canberra had earlier led 17-15 at quarter-time.

Telling in Bendigo’s win was its 17-of-20 free-throw shooting, and another solid night on the boards, winning the rebound count 44-37.

The Capitals were hindered with their star Mariana Tolo getting into early foul trouble with three by halfway through the second quarter, which included the first technical of her career for challenging a foul call.

Tolo finished with 19 points and seven rebounds.

The Spirit return to the Bendigo Stadium next Saturday night to play Townsville. The game will be sponsored by the OTIS Foundation, with the Spirit to wear a pink uniform.

Article: Bendigo Advertiser
Photo: Akuna Photography

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