THE inconsistency within matches that has plagued the Bendigo Spirit throughout the condensed 2020 WNBL season again reared its head in a six-point loss to the Adelaide Lightning on Wednesday night.
Attempting to notch their first win of the season after six-straight losses, the Spirit looked primed for an upset when they led by one-point at half time and trailed by just two at three quarter time.
But a 16-0 run at the start of the final quarter by the Lightning again put the Spirit to the sword.
A three-pointer from Alex Wilson with 6:30 to play gave the Lightning a seemingly unbeatable lead.
But with their backs to the wall, the Spirit showed tremendous courage and character to mount a stunning resurgence.
A pair of threes to Demi Skinner with 1:05 remaining and on-court leader Tessa Lavey with 12 seconds to play reduced the margin to just three points.
But try as they may the Spirit were not quite able to get across the line, with a trio of free throws - one from Steph Talbot and two from Wilson, who finished with a team-high 23 points - pushing the margin back out to six (89-83).
There were nevertheless encouraging signs for a young and developing Spirit, led by an outstanding captain's performance by Lavey, who scored a season-high 33 points and had six assists.
With 18-points alongside her name already at half time, Lavey opened the third quarter in superb touch by scoring the first six points of the term to help deliver the Spirit an early seven point lead before the Lightning were able to claw their way back through a pair of baskets to Steph Talbot (22) and a big three from Abbey Wehrung (15).
A three to Skinner briefly gave the Spirit back the lead, while another later in an exceptional quarter for the former Australian under-19 representative would tie the scores.
The second-year Spirit forward finished with a season-high 17 points, with eight of them coming in the third term, in a performance that will see her come under consideration for a starting role in the Spirit's clash against the Canberra Capitals on Saturday.
Carley Ernst continued her stellar 2020 season form with another 22 points and a team-high 11 rebounds.
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