Bendigo Spirit import Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe and Kelsey Griffin shine in WNBL pre-season win

A LONG-TIME star and an emerging one have shone in the Bendigo Bank Spirt's opening pre-season WNBL hit-out.

Kelsey Griffin and new import Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe were the stand-outs in the Spirit's 68-62 win over Melbourne Boomers.

Played in mutual territory at the Ballarat Minerdome, the game attracted about 800 fans.

Griffin top scored with 26 points and added 10 rebounds, while Canadian Raincock-Ekunwe contributed 19 points and three rebounds.

Recruit Ashleigh Karaitiana was next best on the scoresheet with eight points and five rebounds.

The Spirit were without star centre Gabe Richards and guards Blake Dietrick and Heather Oliver.

Dietrick, one of the Spirit;s two imports, only arrived in Bendigo on Sunday morning and will suit-up in next week's practice match against Dandenong Rangers in Werribee.

Coach Simon Pritchard said it was a consistent team performance from the Spirit, with some players finding themselves in different role.

"We had contributions all over. Nayo started fantastic and finished fantastic," he said.

"Kelsey was very good playing on the perimeter where she normally wouldn't play, which is exciting.

"But Nayo might have been the pick - she was great defensively and so athletic, more than even we perhaps thought.

"She was dynamite."

Nadeen Payne's first outing in Spirit's yielded eight rebounds and five points.

Pritchard said both Payne and Karaitiana had performed solidly down the stretch.

"They really had some impact," he said.

"Some of Ash's offensive stuff was really tough to guard. She has really good timing and the things she does catches people out.

"Nadeen had a really good patch at the end where she made a couple of passes but was a bit frustrated.

"We subbed her off for a minute, she collected her thoughts and came back on and hit two very good shots."

Bendigo teenager Jessie Rennie played five minutes, 35 seconds in her Spirit debut in what will be a valuable learning curve for the Lady Brave.

Pritchard said both sides would have taken plenty of positives out of the game, with the Boomers also being below full strength.

They were without Elyse Penaluna and Rebecca Cole.

Former Spirit player Maddie Garrick top-scored with 17 points, while Bendigo Lady Braves import Chante Black contributed nine points and four rebounds.

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