Post-Game Report January 30 v Bendigo Spirit

January 30, 2024 | Melbourne Boomers news

The Deakin Melbourne Boomers suffered a tough loss on the road to the Bendigo Spirit to round out the Fighting Period Poverty Round in the Cygnett WNBL. The previous two encounters between the Boomers and the Spirit have been settled by less than three points with the season series locked 1-1. The Boomers needed a win to cement their spot in the top four however fell short to the Spirit, 80-70 at Red Energy Arena.

Naz Hillmon began the game with a deep two off an assist from Jordin Canada, with Canada scoring in transition in the next offense for the Boomers. It was tough to find a bucket from that point onwards with both teams playing tight defense. The Spirit were aggressive and smart in the opening minutes which saw Hillmon pick up two fouls and made her readjust her game style. This proved costly for the Boomers throughout the game with Hillmon unable to put a body on her opponent in the paint. Monique Conti seemed to pick up where she left off from her last outing by hitting triples in consecutive offenses to give the Boomers a 10-9 lead midway through the first.

A tip-in from Keely Froling and a drive through the lane from Canada extended the lead out to three however, Mehryn Kraker was quick to cut the Boomers lead back to one. Scores were locked up at 14 all with three minutes left to play, and fresh off her Tall Ferns selection, Tera Reed checked in for her first minutes and immediately proved her worth and put the Boomers out on a 5-0 run. The Spirit were able to match this off the back of an Abigail Wehrung three and Kelly Wilson layup to lock scores up 19-19 at the first break.

Reed continued her form into the second with a drive along the baseline to draw the foul and headed to the line to convert the and one. Kelsey Griffin immediately responded with a wide-open layup and a jumper to give the Spirit a narrow lead. Sara Blicavs opened her scoring for the night with a three, which was then answered by Ally Wilson with the same on the other end. There looked to be no breathing room for both teams as Reed was no match for the Spirit under the basket with another drive which sent her to the line to convert the and one; this forced another lead change in favour of the Boomers.

Coach Lucas had saw enough after an Ally Wilson three, which forced him into a timeout to stop the Spirit’s momentum. A bench technical saw her head to line to extend the Spirit’s lead out to five. Keely Froling began a 7-0 run for the Boomers to give them a three-point lead with minutes to play however, Casey Samuels and Griffin combined for five and gave the Spirit a 39-37 lead at the half.

Griffin picked up where she left off with a classy turnaround jumper to start the second half, but Keely Froling was quick to respond with a three on the other end to cut the deficit to one point. The Spirit were able to take advantage of rushed shots offensively from the Boomers and got themselves out to a handy 11-point lead at the halfway point in the third. A similar tail to the first, the Boomers got in foul trouble early and were in the bonus which proved costly for them. Reed, Megan McKay, and Hillmon tried to claw at the Spirit’s lead however, the Boomers went into the final break trailing 68-56.

The fourth was tough scoring for both the Spirit and the Boomers with only four points scored in the opening four minutes. Coach Kereama called time after a run of turnovers and missed shots as the game was starting to look ugly. It was Conti who responded after the timeout with a steal and layup in transition to cut the Spirit’s lead to nine. This gave the Boomers a spark offensively as it took the Boomers run to 8-0. The Boomers tightened their defense to give the Spirit only a five-point lead until Samuels was left wide open to hit the three and blew the lead out to eight. The Boomers couldn’t pull back the Spirit’s deficit, recording an 80-70 loss on the road.

The Cygnett WNBL now enters the FIBA break with Round 14 to commence on the 15th of February. The Melbourne Boomers loss to the Bendigo Spirit makes their final two games of the Cygnett WNBL all the more important as their final-four spot is not guaranteed; and most likely won’t be until the conclusion of the regular season.


The finals race is well and truly heating up and the Boomers hit the road after the FIBA break to take on the Adelaide Lighting on Saturday 17th February at the Adelaide 36ers Arena. You can tune in at 6 pm on 9Now to catch all the action.