Bendigo Spirit take the points against Melbourne Boomers in WNBL preseason hit-out

Bendigo Bank Spirit got its Women’s National Basketball League preseason off to a positive start with a 68-62 victory over Melbourne Boomers at the Minerdome.

In what was the Spirit’s first hit-out ahead of its WNBL season-opener against Adelaide Lightning on October eight.

Bendigo coach Simon Pritchard said the side’s performance was inconsistent but overall he was pleased with how the match panned out, in particular the progress of its defensive structures.

“We made a pretty good start, better than expected,” Pritchard said.

“In terms of where we’re at we’re very pleased with the performance.

“Our offensive systems were good, our defensive systems weren’t up to speed in the first half. The second half we cranked up our defensive pressure … which is pleasing for me because I want the defensive part set.”

Bendigo took a 13-point lead into half-time, leading 41-28. But the main disappointment for Pritchard was the fitness levels of the group, which led to a low-scoring affair in the second half.

He said that would be the main focus throughout the week in the lead-up to its practice game against Dandenong Rangers on Saturday.

While Pritchard accepted that the first proper match back was always going to test the fitness of players – there was plenty of scope for development in that area.

BACK ON COURT: Bendigo Spirit's Lydia Brooks got some crucial game-time in the first hit-out of the preseason on Saturday night. Picture: Dylan Burns

BACK ON COURT: Bendigo Spirit's Lydia Brooks got some crucial game-time in the first hit-out of the preseason on Saturday night. Picture: Dylan Burns

“The girls fatigued after half-time, they’d gone up and down the court pretty hard for the first half.

“The fitness side of things was the big issue for me.

“We’re just not ready to go yet.

“There’s two parts to it. There is the specific match fitness that you really can’t replicate (at training) and there’s the actual fitness.

“We’ve got to get that interval work into them.”

Pritchard was extremely impressed with the first-up performance of Canadian import Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe. The 24-year-old picked up plenty of rebounds and played well opposed to Boomers’ star Chante Black.

Spirits’s Kelsey Griffin shot a game-high 26 points while Maddie Garrick led the way for the Boomers with 17.

DRIVE: Melbourne Boomers' Maddie Garrick drives hard to the basket in the side's six-point loss to Bendigo.

DRIVE: Melbourne Boomers' Maddie Garrick drives hard to the basket in the side's six-point loss to Bendigo.