It was a case of third time lucky for the Bendigo Bank Spirit on Saturday night as they bounced back against what had been their bogey team in the WNBL this season, the Sydney Uni Flames.
The Spirit had lost their first two matches against the Flames this season, but kept their head-to-head series alive with a 70-55 victory at Sydney’s Brydens Stadium.
The game had been a dour, low-scoring slog for the first three quarters during which the Spirit held a 44-40 advantage.
But after scoring just 44 points in the first three quarters, the game opened up for the Spirit in the last term as they added 26 to pull away for a victory that improves their record to 9-5.
The win featured a season-best performance from Ashleigh Karaitiana.
Karaitiana was the leading scorer for the game with 17 points – almost triple her season average of 6.7 – which included shooting 8-of-12 from the field.
Gabe Richards produced her first double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds, while captain Kelsey Griffin added 13 points.
For the first time this season import Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe was held to single-figure scoring as she finished with eight points.
Both Raincock-Ekunwe and Griffin kept the pressure on the Flames with five steals each.
While the Spirit got the win, they again didn’t shoot the ball well from three-point range, making just 3-of-14 – shooting less than 25 per cent for the fifth game in a row.
The Spirit did well to contain Flames’ star Leilani Mitchell to only 10 points and three assists.
The Spirit will play their final game before the mid-season break this Friday night against Canberra at the Bendigo Stadium from 7.30pm.