Spirit stun Lightning in huge road win

IN one of the upsets of the season, last placed Bendigo Spirit coming off a six-game losing streak, handed Adelaide Lightning their second consecutive loss with a 12-point win, 74-62. The Spirit trailed by seven points at quarter time, but dominated the next two terms to run away with the contest and win comfortably, thanks to a ridiculous performance from star player Anneli Maley.

Adelaide raced out to a 20-13 lead at quarter time – with a late burst in the term – to gain the ascendancy in the match, but the second term belonged to the Spirit, piling on 19 points to nine in a dominant performance. That handed the visitors a three-point buffer at the first break, and they carried that into the second half, scoring 24 points to 17 in the third term, before winning the fourth quarter, 18-16. All up that meant the Spirit had produced a sensational 74-62 victory against the odds at The Lights Community and Sports Centre.

Trailing late in the second term, the Spirit regained the lead late in the quarter – much like the Lightning had done in the fist term – and never looked back from there, with the eventual 12-point deficit the equal largest of the match. Though statistically the teams were even from a shooting perspective, the Spirit had far more attempts, leading to the difference in the sides. Bendigo had 80 shots to 62 from the field, nailing a slightly higher 27 and 43 per cent from three and two-point range compared to the Lightning’s 26 and 41 per cent. The visitors free throw percentage could certainly lift, only scoring six of 15 at 40 per cent, compared to Adelaide’s 11 of 13 at 84 per cent.

Bendigo was just cleaner with the ball, only producing 10 turnovers to Adelaide’s 18, and capitalising from that, with 20 points to 11. They had 10 more rebounds – largely thanks to Maley – four more assists and six more steals. The Lightning scored more from fast break opportunities (15-9), but the Spirit had more second chance points (15-12).

From an individual perspective, Maley was by far the best on court, producing an outstanding 26-point and 21-rebound game, shooting 11 of 27 from the field, and 14 of her rebounds came on the defensive end. She also amassed five steals and three assists. Tessa Lavey (12 points, seven rebounds and five assists) did a bit of everything for the Spirit, as Madeleine Garrick (17 points, six rebounds) and Megan McKay (eight points, 10 rebounds) were strong throughout the contest.

The Lightning had a few strong contributiors as well, with Kylee Shook picking up a team-high eight rebounds to go with 12 points and two assists, whilst Chelsea Brook was the top scorer with 16 points. Brook also amassed five rebounds and two steals, whilst Abigail Wehrung had nine points, four rebounds and four assists. Coming off the bench, Brooke Basham recorded 11 points, two rebounds and two assists.

Bendigo Spirit host Perth Lynx on February 12 in their next match, whilst Adelaide Lightning have an extended break before also taking on Perth Lynx in what is hoped to be in Western Australia.

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