WEDNESDAY 8 DECEMBER 2021
Round two of the 2021/22 WNBL season has kicked off with the Deakin Melbourne Boomers going down to the Bendigo Spirit – Melbourne falling just short, 58 – 62.
In what was the Melbourne’s first game of the season, Bendigo ended their second game by breaking a 676-day long drought without a win, in front of a home crowd at Bendigo Stadium.
Shooting guard and six-year WNBA veteran, Tiffany Mitchell, had a strong opening game on debut for Melbourne, notching up 12 points, two assists and three steals.
Bendigo provided strong defensive pressure in the first quarter, which caused Melbourne to play quick, resulting in turnovers and pressured shots.
Despite the pressure, Cayla George claimed the opening points of the game and continued the momentum throughout. Carrying Melbourne to finish the night with a double-double and game high 16 points and 18 rebounds.
Quick succession of scoring in the opening quarter by Maddie Garrick and Tessa Lavey for Bendigo took them out to a seven-point lead early on. Momentum that proved hard to stop with Melbourne missing valuable chances to convert in the paint.
Melbourne was able to put the pressure back on Bendigo in the second quarter, providing more intensity and strong possession.
Tess Madgen scored a drought-ending bucket early in the quarter to bring the gap down to 13 points (10-23), followed by Ezi Magbegor soon after, bringing some momentum back to the side’s efforts.
Midway through the term, Lindsay Allen was looking right back at home for her third season the purple. Picking up the defensive efforts, along with Mitchell.
Mitchell made a strong drive to the bucket showing us what she can do. Drawing a foul and converting the three-point play to bring Melbourne back within six of Bendigo.
They were able edge their way into the game with Spirit leading by only nine points at half time and setting up the rest of the game for an intense second half.
Coming out fired up at the start of the second half, Magbegor led Melbourne’s increasing defensive pressure and brought the scores to within two points. Magbegor ended the night strong with eight points and five rebounds.
Mitchell got much more than she bargained for with six minutes left in the term, taking a massive hit and recovering to convert the pair of free throws. This is quickly followed by Madgen’s two to take the lead (40-38) but was answered almost immediately by Bendigo’s Anneli Maley.
With 22.6 seconds left to play in the third quarter a contested ball between Magbegor and Maley leaves Bendigo with the ball and a chance to extend the lead – Lavey manages to convert, and Bendigo leads Melbourne by six at the break.
Bendigo was able to maintain momentum throughout the final term with high pressure in defense and pushing into transition.
Mitchell and George however, continued to dominate. Young gun and debutant, Lily Scanlon proving she could put the pressure on where it counted.
George’s ability to thrive in the pressure created a one possession ball game with a three-point jump shot in the closing 40 seconds.
Despite the Boomers efforts, Bendigo Spirit were able to maintain their lead and walk away with a home game win.
The Boomers are warmed up & raring to go. Don’t miss the ‘Melbourne Derby’ – Deakin Melbourne Boomers vs Jayco Southside Flyers – this Saturday for our first home game in over 20 months at Melbourne Sports Centre Parkville. Get your tickets HERE.