BENDIGO SPIRIT: 63 DEF MELBOURNE BOOMERS: 58
BENDIGO Spirit put on a tough defensive display on Wednesday night against the Melbourne Boomers to secure the team's first win of the 2021/22 WNBL season.
The five-point win from the Spirit saw them close the door on the Boomers multiple times to ensure there were very few open shots at the basket.
"Our defence was clearly very tough and we rarely gave up easy looks for their shooters," Bendigo Spirit coach Tracy York said.
"It was also a very physical match with bodies everywhere so we ensured we were always among it and jumping on loose balls."
The Spirit maintained control of the scoreboard at the end of each break, but the lead didn't come without non-stop challenges from the Boomers.
During the last 90 seconds of the fourth quarter a late surge from the Boomers got them back within striking distance of the Spirit.
"The girls stuck to exactly what had been working the entire game - putting pressure on the rim and getting free throws," York said.
Spirit's match MVP went to Anneli Maley who scored 18 points and took 13 rebounds to notch a double-double.
"She was able to come up with the rebounds at times where we didn't make the shot and the next thing you'd see was the ball in her hands," York said.
"Across the entire team - whoever went onto the court played their role so well.
"Once again, our defensive pressure was huge which held the Boomers up and allowed us to make plays when needed."
The Spirit now have a 10-day break before the next game which will be a rematch against the Boomers - back on their home court at the Bendigo Stadium.
"When you play the same team again after a win it's always a completely different ball game," York said.
"There's no doubt the Boomers will be looking at what they need to adjust in terms of stopping us from scoring.
"But we'll keep moving forward and expand on the plays we've been executing well."
York said the win had given the team confidence moving ahead for the rest of the season.
"We now know that we can match up against arguably one of the league's top teams," she said.
"We need to ensure we remain tough for the full 40 mins as every team is going to be a challenge this season.
"It's now a matter of continually moving forward together as a group."
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