January 22, 2023 | Melbourne Boomers news

It was third versus first as the Bendigo Spirit visited the Boom Box to take on the Deakin Melbourne Boomers, with the visitors prevailing with a five-point win to cement their spot on the ladder.

Cayla George picked up where she left off from last week with the first shot of the game from deep. Miela Goodchild also contributed early with a triple and gave the Boomers an early 12-2 lead to stun the Spirit and force an early timeout.

Abby Wehrung had back-to-back threes for Bendigo to keep the Spirit in touch, cutting the lead to six. Tiffany Mitchell inserted her influence on the game with a slick drive and score at the rim, and then followed with a buzzing-beating three, and it was the Boomers who held the ascendency at quarter-time – 23-12.

Three early triples by Bendigo brought the defecit back to single digits, leaving it to George to provide a steadying basket to bring the lead back up to 10 midway through the quarter. Penina Davidson scored a strong two at the hoop, but it was again Wehrung who kept the Spirit in it with yet another hoop to cut the lead to six. A Maley three made it a three-point game, but Goodchild hit a contested deep ball to wrestle back momentum form a hot Spirit. Mitchell again showed aggression at the rim with a drive and score, and it was the Boomers 46-38 at the half.

Some defensive lapses by Bendigo saw the Boomers extend their lead to 12 early in the third, causing a Spirit timeout. Wallace got her offensive game going with a mid-range two, but Bendigo found their range again with some clutch shooting from beyond the arc, attempting to make inroads into the Melbourne lead. Two late threes by Tessa Lavey saw the Spirit go into the final break only down by six – 62-56.

The Spirit came out hot in the fourth and cut the lead to just two, as Coach Chris Lucas called a timeout after only 90 seconds. Yet another Lavey three gave Bendigo their first lead of the game, but free throws by George quickly wrestled it back. Wallace stayed aggressive, going downhill to earn a trip to the line, and the Boomers held a two-point lead. A Maley mid-range levelled the score, and what was looking like a comfortable Boomers win turned into an arm wrestle. George showed vocal leadership following a timeout, and backed it up with a crucial layup, however Bendigo kept their hot offence going to establish a five-point lead. The Spirit showed desperation on defence, making the Boomers uncomfortable on the offensive end, and maintained their five-point lead with a minute to go.

Some George toughness saw her earn a free throws, making it a three-point Bendigo lead with 53 seconds to go. Sophie Burrows affected a steal to give the Boomers the ball with 40 seconds left, but Melbourne were unable to hit from three despite having two attempts, and the Spirit came away with possession forcing Melbourne to foul. A desperation three from Mitchell could not land, and the Spirit prevailed in the end, coming away with the win – 81-76.

The Boomers move to 11-and-3 and maintain their top spot on the ladder, despite today’s result, however the race for the finals has now tightened up significantly with both Southside and Bendigo sitting on 11-4.


The team returns to the Boom Box in seven days, facing the Perth Lynx on January 29 at 3:30pm. Tickets are available at