A FOUR-minute lapse that allowed the Dandenong Rangers to score 10 unanswered points during the third quarter has dropped the Bendigo Spirit to a 3-10 WNBL record.
The Spirit were beaten 75-67 by the Rangers at the Bendigo Stadium on Saturday night, allowing Dandenong to gain the upper hand in the second half of the third quarter to set up its second win over Bendigo in a fortnight.
The Spirit had led 54-53 after a Nadeen Payne three-pointer during the third term, before the Rangers launched their 10-0 run that was aided by Bendigo turning the ball over five times, as well as a technical foul against coach Simon Pritchard.
“It’s those three and four minute lapses that are hurting us,” Pritchard said.
“We called timeouts during that third quarter to try to stem the flow, but we just went too short against their zone and didn’t make them play defence for long enough.
“We’ve been going on all season about going later in the shotclock and waiting for the opposition to make a defensive mistake, but we’re just not learning the lessons.”
As well as the Rangers breaking away with their 10-0 run during the third quarter, one of the key differences between the two sides was the Spirit giving up 16 points off their 19 turnovers.
Betnijah Laney led the Spirit scoring with 18 points – half of which came in the first quarter when she had a hot hand early.
Gabe Richards looked on track early to notch her third double-double in the past five games when she went to quarter-time with six points and five rebounds.
Richards ended the match with 13 points and eight rebounds.
After being held to just five points in the first half, Rachel Banham finished with 16 for the Spirit, but went just two-of-nine from three-point range.
One of those missed three-pointers came with one minute left in the game that would have brought the Spirit back within three, before Laney missed a drive soon after.
“We just couldn’t get back within a basket late in the game to get the scoreboard pressure back on them,” Pritchard said.
Rangers’ captain Stephanie Blicavs was the game’s top-scorer with 19 points, which included 16 in the first half. Dual Spirit championship player Tessa Lavey combined 12 points with three assists for the Rangers.
The Spirit play Melbourne away on Thursday night.