Bendigo push for back-to-back

December 1, 2023 BY

On target: Kelly Wilson had seven rebounds and five assists in the Bendigo Spirit’s big come back win over the Sydney Flames on Saturday. Photo: FILE

AFTER a breakthrough victory in round four, Bendigo Spirit will chase another in Saturday night’s Cygnett Women’s National Basketball League match in Adelaide.

Spirit in Bendigo’s squad will have soared after it turned a 15-point deficit in the second term into a 16-point win against Sydney Flames at Bendigo’s Red Energy Arena.

Now the challenge is to mark consecutive wins and break the season duck in away fixtures.

Bendigo coach Kennedy Kereama said Spirit had to bring the level of defensive intensity and willingness to compete to beat Lightning on its court.

In this season’s action, Adelaide has twice bounced back from defeat the previous round to take the points.

Lightning will be aiming to do so again following a 51-74 result against Townsville in Adelaide last Thursday night.

Dangers to Bendigo’s chances include Jocelyn Willoughby, Isabel Borlase and Brianna Turner.

Kereama said Spirit’s fighting quality was again to the fore against the Flames.

“The way we were able to stay composed, lift in areas we had to, and then execute was outstanding,” Kereama said of Spirit’s second half against Sydney.

Target areas leading into the clash were greater return from the free-throw line and less defensive fouls.

Spirit sunk 18 of 23 shots from the free-throw line.

“There was a much greater reward for effort,” said Kereama.

Just as importantly was the defensive play to limit a Sydney line-up which included Olympian and WNBA champion Cayla George, Lauren Nicholsono and Didi Richards to a tally of 20 points in the second half.

For the Spirit there were plenty of contributors at both ends of the court.

The attack was led by Alicia Froling, Casey Samuels and Alex Wilson with 17 points apiece.

In her 436th WNBL appearance, Kelly Wilson won seven rebounds and dished out five assists.

Spirit captain Kelsey Griffin was on the sidelines because of some concerns about her hamstring.

Should she take to Adelaide’s court, Griffin adds to Spirit’s scoring punch, along with the likes of Mehryn Kraker and centre Ruth Davis.

The Lightning and Spirit showdown tips off at 7pm at Adelaide 36ers Arena.