Mixed Weekend For The Bendigo Bank Spirit

Akuna Photography

THE Bendigo Bank Spirit kept their WNBL record in the positive after a mixed weekend in which they were involved in a pair of double-digit results for a win and a loss.

On Saturday night the Spirit copped a 20-point hiding off Melbourne – a team below them on the ladder – but then bounced back at home on Sunday to defeat Dandenong by 14 points in a physical encounter where both sides shot at 34 per cent from the field.

The weekend’s inconsistency sums up the first 11 games of the season for the Spirit, who are now 6-5 ahead of a trip to Adelaide next Sunday.

Sunday’s 63-49 win over Dandenong was a 46-point turnaround on their meeting a month earlier when the Spirit copped a 32-point belting off the Rangers in what was the equal biggest loss in their WNBL history.

But on Sunday the Spirit started well, leading 19-12 at quarter-time, and never looked back, extending their advantage at each break.

“It’s incredible to think Dandenong beat us by 32 last time and we only let them score 49 today,” Spirit coach Simon Pritchard said.

“And four of those points were after the game was done and we subbed a couple of players off.

“But I’m just really pleased the players were able to bounce back on what was a really special day for the club, Bendigo and Kelsey’s ceremony.”

Following Sunday’s game, Spirit star Kelsey Griffin became an Australian citizen, just over three years since joining the club as an import.

Ahead of her citizenship ceremony, Griffin scored 14 points to go with nine rebounds in the victory.

Captain Kelly Wilson (16) and Belinda Snell (11) also scored in double figures for the Spirit.

Sunday’s grinding win in which the Spirit’s score of 63 was their lowest winning total since beating Melbourne 60-55 in December, 2013, was in stark contrast to Saturday night’s lethargic effort at the State Basketball Centre when the Spirit were beaten 78-58 by the Boomers.

“Last night was a case of players simply choosing not to put pressure on,” Pritchard said.

“Basically, whenever it required effort and we needed to do the blue-collar work, we didn’t do it. It was a very disappointing night.”

The Spirit were destroyed 40-28 in the rebound count on Saturday night and had only Gabe Richards (14) score in double figures.

Former Spirit players Elyse Penaluna (25) and Maddie Garrick (7) combined for 32 points for the Boomers.

Article: Luke West, Bendigo Advertiser
Photo: Steve Blake, Akuna Photography

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