Bendigo Bank Spirit proved too strong for the Brydens Sydney Uni Flames at the back-end of their Round 14 clash, winning 81-66 at Bendigo Stadium.
The half-time score of 41-38, in favour of the Spirit, was indicative of a tight, first two quarters however, the Spirit found their life-force, ramped up a gear and the Flames, missing injured import, Carolyn Swords, struggled to maintain contact.
The victory for Bendigo sees them draw level with the Flames on the Wattle Valley Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) ladder, both having played 19 games for 12 wins. Bendigo and Sydney each have just five regular season games left to secure one of the four finals berths.
Bendigo Spirit took their scoring chances with #23 Kelsey Griffin bagging a game-high 28 points, including 15 rebounds, while #20 Gabrielle Richards also dominated netting 25 points with 13 rebounds. The Spirit as a unit racked up 46 rebounds in total, showing great determination in support play. Consecutive WNBL Champions in 2012/13 and 2013/14, the Spirit seem to be timing their run beautifully.
Flames Captain #10, Katie Ebzery, never stopped trying with 18 points in her first game after performing strongly in all three Rio Test Event games for the Jayco Opals last week. Coach, Shannon Seebohm, elevated #13, Casey Samuels, to the starting five to replace Swords. The experience will benefit Samuels and the squad who missed the height and aggressiveness of Swords, especially in and around the key.
The current sequence of four away games for the Flames was identified pre-season by Seebohm as likely pivotal to the team’s chances. With two losses from two, the Flames will be desperate for a win as they next venture north to tackle the two QLD teams, starting with Townsville Fire, on Friday 29 January.
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