19/05/2024

Image: WNBL website

Whilst a strong last quarter by the Capitals, who showed fight and hunger, the Spirit did enough in the first three quarters to seal victory at home at Red Energy Arena.

The Bendigo Spirit entered Thursday’s clash with the UC Capitals looking to build on their win against Adelaide. While the Capitals were looking to cause an upset despite missing key players Alex Bunton, Emilee Whittle-Harmon and Brittany Smart due to injury.

Both teams opted to run a small-ball system, causing an end-to-end contest early in the game.

The Spirit were were the first team to find their rhythm, dominating the rebound count with 16 in the first quarter – and converting 10 points inside the paint. They were able to build an early lead througgh efficient shooting, working at 47 per cent from the field compared to the Caps 21 per cent.  

Alex Wilson and Abbey Wehrung were major threats on the perimeter while Megan McKay had a huge impact off the bench. McKay finished the first quarter with eight points, helping the Spirit to an 11 point lead at quarter time.

The Spirit had a strong second quarter, winning 22-17. They continued their quick ball movement and shot at 46 per cent from the field to tighten their grip on the contest. The Capitals struggled to fire on the offensive end, shooting just 11 per cent from three in the second quarter.

The Spirit continued to dominate the rebound count to finish the first half, finishing with 29-16. They also won points inside the paint 28-16, which was dominated by Megan McKay who had five offensive boards.

For the Capitals, Rae Burrell knocked down some tough shots in the mid-range, whilst Shanice Swain hustled defensively, getting stops and providing the run down the court.

Bendigo extended their lead in the third quarter, outscoring the Caps 28-17 and making the most of fast breaks.

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Anneli Maley was huge on the rebounding boards, driving to the basket and finishing three-point plays, whilst Ally Wilson continued her strong presence pushing the tempo.

The Capitals outscored the Spirit in the last quarter, 30-15, with the likes of Jade Melbourne pushing the tempo and finding the open spaces for others, whilst Chloe Tugliach and Abby Solway stepped up and made the most of their opportunities.

The Spirit showed their class, putting their foot down to seal the victory, 86-74.

The Spirit had five players with double figure points; Megan Mckay (20 points, eight rebounds), Ally Wilson (18 points, five rebounds, five assists) and Anneli Maley (18 points, 12 rebounds, five assists) were among the their best.

The Spirit face the Melbourne Boomers in their second game of the weekend in round 11 on Sunday afternoon at the Boom Box in Parkville.

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