Bendigo Spirit have held on in a cliff-hanger to take out the WNBL Pre Season Tournament Final in a classic over the Bulleen Boomers 61-59 at Dandenong Stadium.
The two undefeated teams of the tournament did not disappoint in the final game of the three-day basketball extravaganza, with the Boomers coming from 10 points with four minutes on the clock to cut the lead to one point inside the final minute.
A late free throw from Kelly Wilson gave the Spirit a two-point advantage before a three-point attempt from Tess Madgen on the buzzer rimmed out, giving Bendigo a perfect 3-0 start to the pre-season.
Gabrielle Richards top-scored for the Spirit, finishing with 16 points and 7 rebounds, while Kristi Harrower once again proved why she is the player for the big moments, turning back the clock with a 15 points, 6 rebound and 7 assist performance.
Bursting out of the blocks Bendigo quickly established a lead that they would hold through half-time and the entire game, with their ability curtail the influence of the Bulleen frontcourt a highlight.
Emma McDonald (nee Randall) put in her best showing of the tournament to finish with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Alice Kunek was again a solid contributor with 13 points and 7 rebounds.
What we learnt
The secret is out: The WNBL Pre Season Tournament has revealed its first secret; Bendigo look very good. A strong backcourt of Wilson, Harrower, Camino and Perera is complemented by a strong interior presence led by Richards, Scheer and Aubry.
Bulleen right in the mix: An impressive tournament from the Boomers will have them shaping up as a genuine WNBL title contender come March. Plenty of frontcourt talent (Florance, McDonald and Penaluna) along with Jarry, Kunek and Madgen looks like a potent roster.