The Bendigo Spirit’s inability to win close games came back to haunt them again against the Adelaide Lightning on Thursday night.
For the third time this WNBL season the Spirit had a home game go to overtime and for the third they tasted defeat.
The Spirit eventually went down 92-81 after the visitors dominated the extra period.
Adelaide scored 16 points in the five minutes of overtime – just one point less than it scored in the entire final term.
The difference between the two teams was Adelaide import Nia Coffey who scored a WNBL season-high 37 points.
Spirit forward Nadeen Payne overcame early foul trouble to score a team-high 21 points in her 200th WNBL game. Abbey Wehrung added 16 points and Louella Tomlinson chipped in with 14 points off the bench.
The Spirit looked the better side early in the game.
They opened up a 34-19 lead early in the second quarter on the back of some sweet shooting and swift ball movement.
The Lightning showed their class by unleashing a 9-0 run of their own to eat into the deficit.
The @AdelLightning get over the line in overtime to spoil @BendigoSpirit's last home game of #WNBL19 and Payne's 200th when she had 21pts!— WNBL (@WNBL) January 10, 2019
Coffey hit a league season-high 37pts with 12rebs, 4asts & 2stls alongside Seekamp (11pts, 9asts, 7stls) and Alexander (10pts, 11rebs)! pic.twitter.com/JO2ScYBato
Three-straight buckets from Tomlinson eased the pressure for the Spirit, but the Lightning finished the half strongly to cut the margin to six points at the major break.
The Lightning’s momentum carried into the third quarter and they took the lead twice midway through the term before a three-point bomb from Wehrung and two big baskets from Payne gave the Spirit a four-point lead at three quarter-time.
Scoreless in the first three quarters, Spirit point guard nailed a jump shot and a three-pointer to open the fourth term. The back-to-back baskets gave the home side a nine-point lead.
Just when it looked like the Spirit might break the game open the Lightning rallied again.
With five minutes remaining in the game the Spirit led 72-69. In crunch time both teams struggled to score. The Spirit didn’t make another field goal for the remainder of regulation. Their final four points came from the free throw line.
With three mintes remaining Coffey made a big three pointer for the Lightning to cut the Bendigo lead to one point. Wehrung made one of two free throws to make the score 76-74.
Both teams missed their next four field goal attempts, leaving Adelaide with the ball and 20 seconds on the clock.
Coffey came up with the big play under the basket to tie the scores and the Spirit failed to get a shot away before the siren sounded.
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