DEFENCE will continue to be a priority for Bendigo Spirit coach Tracy York, after leaking 100 points in a weekend loss to the Perth Lynx.
Eyeing a move up the WNBL ladder as they took on the Lynx, the Spirit instead dropped to last place following a 19 point loss.
The defeat came at the further cost of an injury to stalwart centre Gabe Richards, who looks set to miss this Saturday night's clash against the top of the ladder Southside Flyers at Bendigo Stadium.
York said the Spirit had been left to rue a flat patch in the opening quarter, which led to game-defining 11-point quarter time deficit.
"Probably midway and through to the last two minutes of that first quarter they basically went on a 9-0 run and we could never get that back," she said.
"For the rest of the game we pretty much stayed with them, but that scoreline still kind of stayed the same.
"The shining light was obviously Shyla (Heal) for us, with 30 points, six rebounds and three steals. She was absolutely fantastic, but we just couldn't contain them defensively."
Heal's 30 point contribution topped her previous WNBL career-best of 24, achieved only a week earlier in a win against the Canberra Capitals, and were enough to elevate the 18-year-old guard to the top of the Spirit averages at 11.9 points per game.
York foreshadowed some extra work on the practice court, specifically on defence.
"I've watched it (the game) back a couple of times, I didn't sleep last night, so there will be some extra training going on today (Tuesday). You can't give up 100 points; we scored 81, but you can't give up 100," she said.
"We just have to do better with our one-on-one containment. If we are going to match up with everyone, you have to be able to guard your own and we didn't do a very good job of that, we let them get away.
"Realistically we got a good score on the board, but again we gave up way too many points."
Despite a setback against the Lynx, which followed stirring back-to-back wins over Townsville and Canberra, York said the Spirit have not given up on climbing their way back up the league ladder and potentially finishing as high as fifth.
"As we've already said, that last four teams (Sydney Uni, Perth, Townsville and Bendigo), any of those teams can still finish fifth - as the season has gone, the top four is set," she said.
"The last few games, if we can at least aim for three or four (wins), we can finish as high as fifth.
"But depending on how the other teams go, we can go as low as bottom."
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