Bendigo Spirit put up a hard-fought effort against the Sydney Uni Flames on Thursday night, but were defeated by seven points in a close game.
The Flames took the lead early in the first quarter, however, the Spirit fought back to level the scores 20-20 at the break.
Come the second quarter, the Spirit outscored the Flames to take a seven-point lead at half-time, 51-44.
Flames came out firing in the third to outscore the Spirit by five points, however, they still trailed by two points going into the final quarter, 64-66.
The Spirit led by one point with just under two minutes left on the clock in the fourth, however, the Flames were determined to win.
With the Spirit's fouls maxed out which led to free-throws in the last minute of the game, paired with a couple of swift plays by their opponents, the Flames managed to take out the match 88-81.
Carley Ernst showed her extensive experience in what was her 200th WNBL game by top scoring for the Spirit with 20 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three turnovers.
Another milestone for the Spirit included Gabe Richards scoring 3000 career points.
Spirit are now preparing for their second match of the round against top two team the UC Capitals (8-3).
The Capitals will be without Kelsey Griffin, who is a former Spirit championship player, due to an ankle injury.
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