The Bendigo Spirit endured another WNBL pre-season loss to the Melbourne Boomers on Thursday afternoon.
The Spirit were without several key players in the 60-95 defeat due to injury, which ultimately took a toll on the team's ability against the Boomers.
"We had five players out which left us with very limited rotations and it continued to hurt us the game wore on," coach Tracy York said.
"However, it gave us the opportunity to see where our development and training players are and where they sit if the opportunity to play during the season arises."
Strong defence and accurate three-point shooting from the Boomers paved the way to a 12-point lead at the end of the first quarter.
The visitors' iron-clad defence continued to cause problems for the Spirit as the lead was extended to 26 points at the main break.
Boomers' three-point accuracy remained stronger than ever in the third, which set the Spirit a very tough task to find a way back from the deficit of 36 points heading into the final quarter.
During the fourth quarter the momentum flowed back-and-forth between the teams, but the Boomers held on strong to see out the game by 35 points.
Maddie Garrick showed non-stop energy from start to finish with 19 points on the board, followed by Anneli Maley and Carly Boag who each had 10.
The loss to the Boomers comes after the Spirit's first pre-season defeat on Saturday to the Southside Flyers, final scores 68-92.
Despite the loss, York said there were positive signs from the Spirit - especially from the squad's younger members.
"They were able to play through pressure and when things weren't going well," York said.
"In scenarios like this it isn't all about scoring but how well they handle their response."
Looking ahead to the season-opener on December 4 against Southside Flyers, the hope is to have all players back physically at 100 per cent.
Read more: Maley hungry for success with Bendigo Spirit
"We haven't really had the whole group together and we've had to manage," York said.
"Hopefully by December 4 everyone is back on deck and we'll be able to compete well."
The club's first home game of the season proper is on December 8 against the Melbourne Boomers.
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