GOING into Tuesday night's clash against the Townsville Fire the Bendigo Spirit were seemingly edging towards their first win of the WNBL season.
While they were 0-5, the Spirit had shown signs of improvement, reducing their losing margin in each game from 42 points in their season-opener against Southside to 37 points (v Sydney Uni), 20 points (v Canberra), 13 points (v Perth) and 10 points (v Townsville).
However, what unfolded against the Fire in Townsville was a horror performance from the Spirit as they copped the second biggest hiding in their history.
Coming off their most competitive showing of the season against Townsville three nights earlier, the Spirit followed it up with a dismal display, blown off the court from the outset by the Fire in a 99-51 thrashing.
Since joining the WNBL in 2007-08, only the 58 point belting the Spirit copped from Townsville on December 23, 2017, has been bigger than the hiding they were dealt on Tuesday night.
And their meagre tally of just 51 points was their equal third lowest in club history.
"It wasn't good at all... it was obviously very disappointing from three days before when we had been highly competitive against Townsville," Spirit coach Tracy York said on Wednesday.
"But this time we got beaten from start to finish. They came out firing with a very good shooting percentage in the first quarter and we just had way too many turnovers.
"There hadn't been any signs leading in that we would come out and play like that, but that's what happens when pressure is put on a young team."
Less than five minutes into the game the Spirit already trailed 19-2, during which time Bendigo had committed seven turnovers.
By the end of the match the Spirit had turned the ball over 26 times, of which the Fire scored 40 points from.
"We were not good with the ball at all and not tough enough and we just didn't handle the pressure from Townsville at all," York said.
Among the Fire team that obliterated Bendigo were two former Spirit players in Nadeen Payne (18 points) and Shyla Heal (10), who combined for 28 points.
Only Mary Goulding (10) and Jennie Rintala (10) scored in double figures for Bendigo, which has little time to work on its deficiencies, with the Spirit back in action tonight against the Adelaide Lightning, which is also coming off a shocker last night when it lost to Melbourne by 40 points.
Having already lost Georgia Pineau to an ACL injury on the eve of the season, the Spirit also has Shelby Britten currently sidelined with an ankle injury.
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