Pritchard lashes Spirit after 86-42 hiding from Melbourne in WNBL

BENDIGO Spirit coach Simon Pritchard conceded his team simply “went through the motions” in Thursday night’s WNBL shocker against the Melbourne Boomers.

TOUGH SEASON: Bendigo Spirit coach Simon Pritchard has put the heat on his team after Thursday night's 86-42 belting from the Melbourne Boomers in the WNBL. The loss leaves the Spirit at 3-11. Picture: LUKE WEST

TOUGH SEASON: Bendigo Spirit coach Simon Pritchard has put the heat on his team after Thursday night's 86-42 belting from the Melbourne Boomers in the WNBL. The loss leaves the Spirit at 3-11. Picture: LUKE WEST

The Spirit re-wrote their record books for all the wrong reasons in the 86-42 shellacking from the second-placed Boomers at the State Basketball Centre.

The 44-point margin was the biggest loss in the Spirit’s 255-game history, and their tally of just 42 points also their lowest score.

With seven games left in the season, the Spirit is languishing with a 3-11 record, with Thursday night the sixth of those 11 defeats by at least 24 points.

Pritchard was scathing of his team’s performance against an opponent it had beaten in their previous encounter last month, albeit while their captain and best player, Kelsey Griffin, was still in the line-up before her season-ending hip surgery.

“The starting group wasn’t switched on to start with and just let Melbourne get lay-up upon lay-up with their poor defence and lack of preparedness to play the game,” Pritchard said on Friday.

“We were out of shape within five minutes, and to only get four points out of the bench in 56 minutes of play…

“But it’s on the starters to lift their game, and to do so quick smart.

Bendigo Spirit season results.

Bendigo Spirit season results.

“Last night was just like they were going through the motions because they had to and if that’s the case then it reflects poorly on us as an organisation and as people.”

Pritchard is in his third season as Spirit coach and contracted until the end of 2018-19, but says he is “absolutely” feeling the pressure as his side struggles.

“But the job is still there to be done and those things don’t impact until the end of the season,” Pritchard said.

Bendigo Spirit lowest scores.

Bendigo Spirit lowest scores.

Thursday night’s flogging from the Boomers came five days after Pritchard conceded his players were “just not learning the lessons” following the Spirit’s loss to Dandenong in their previous game.

Last night was just like they were going through the motions and if that’s the case then it reflects poorly on us as an organisation and as people

Simon Pritchard

Pritchard was also critical of his players lack of support for each other on the court against the Boomers.

“They need to be playing for each other,” he said.

“They need to be supporting each other on the court and I’m not seeing that… the idea that they could be just going through the motions is exactly what it looks like.”

Bendigo Spirit biggest losses.

Bendigo Spirit biggest losses.

The Spirit’s paltry score of 42 on Thursday night included 38 points coming from three of their players – Betnijah Laney (16), Gabe Richards (14) and Nadeen Payne (8) in what was a night where the team shot just 16-of-60 from the field.

The Spirit will return to the court on Saturday night to host the Townsville Fire (9-6) from 7pm at the Bendigo Stadium where Pritchard will be hoping to see a strong and energetic response from his playing group, starting with their rebounding.