ALBURY-WODONGA LADY BANDITS: Error-prone ladies slump to 14th straight loss

THE Albury-Wodonga Lady Bandits literally threw away any chance of victory — however remote — last night at the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre.

Already underdogs going into the game, a litany of rushed, forced and downright poor passes in the face of full-court pressure from the Brisbane Lady Spartans cost the Border outfit dearly in a 101-65 defeat.

With the Lady Spartans forcing 28 turnovers, Brisbane duo Odette Andrew and Olivia Thompson feasted on the repeated errors, scoring 26 and 22 points respectively.

Yet again, Emilee Harmon was the beacon of resistance for the Lady Bandits, scoring 26 points and pulling down 11 rebounds, while fellow US import Rachel Maenpaa worked hard to grab 12 boards but scored just eight points and coughed up the ball an astounding 11 times.

Lady Bandits coach James Ballinger said his players only had themselves to blame for the team’s 14th straight defeat.

“Just so many bad passes and people you don’t expect to make those bad decisions,” Ballinger said.

“Some of those passes, I’m just not sure where they were going.

“I think they panicked a little bit in the face of some really good Brisbane pressure.

“There were patches when we handled it really well but then we forced shots too often under pressure.

“We need to do a better job of recognising what the opposition is trying to do.”

A bright start for the hosts soon gave way as the visitors wreaked some havoc with full-court pressure to take a 27-20 lead at the first break.

But worse was to come in the second period as Albury-Wodonga was swept away by a tidal wave of Lady Spartan long-range marksmanship and a host of ill-timed turnovers.

Staring at a 54-37 half-time deficit, the Lady Bandits battled hard but could not cut into Brisbane’s advantage, still trailing 68-51 with one quarter to play.

Albury-Wodonga got the margin back to 13 points early in the fourth and once again the visitors firmly resisted the merest hint of a challenge, racing away to the final buzzer.