Sweet 16 for soaring Spirit

Bendigo thumps West Coast Waves

FOR the second game in a row, the Bendigo Spirit held their opponents to just 49 points as their dominant WNBL season continued on Saturday night.

In a game pitting top versus bottom, the Spirit cruised to a 77-49 win over the West Coast Waves at the Bendigo Stadium.

The Waves made an encouraging start to the game when they led by one point at quarter-time, 15-14.

But as far as a contest, that's where it ended.

The Spirit asserted their authority with a 23-4 second term to lead by 18 points at half-time.

Holding the Waves, who have now lost 17 in a row, to just 49 points for the game came a week after the Spirit also restricted the Melbourne Boomers to 49.

"We stuck to what we do as a defensive group... it's about shutting down teams and defending as a whole," coach Bernie Harrower said.

"We played really good defence as a team, so that was pleasing."

Equally as pleasing as the defensive performance of his side for Harrower was that every player played at least 7:45 minutes.

"It shows that we're in good form with the whole group and we've just got to keep working hard," Harrower said.

"We've got a tough game coming up next week, which makes it all the more better to be able to give everybody a run."

The Spirit shared their points around, with 11 of the 12 players scoring.

Elyse Penaluna led the Spirit scoring with 14 points, while Kelsey Griffin scored 10 and Maddie Garrick, Chelsea Aubry and Sarah Blicavs all added eight off the bench.

Gabe Richards was again a dominant force in the paint with 11 rebounds, helping the Spirit to a 41-26 advantage over the Waves on the boards.

The 28-point victory was the fifth time in a row the Spirit has beaten the Waves by at least 20 points.

The top-of-the-ladder Spirit has now won 16 games in a row and is edging closer to the WNBL's all-time winning streak record of 21, set by North Adelaide in 1990.

"All we're worried about over the next few weeks is just getting wins over quality teams," Harrower said.

"We've got Townsville and Logan at home and then a trip to Townsville, so all we're focusing on is these next three games."

The Spirit will play Townsville at the Bendigo Stadium from 3pm this Saturday in a clash of last season's grand finalists.

The Fire won 79-67 in round one in Bendigo's only loss of the season. 

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