The Bendigo Bank Spirit hope experience counts in tonight’s Women’s National Basketball League clash at Bulleen.
The Spirit take on the Boomers at the Veneto Club, aiming to continue their perfect record of six wins on the road and to keep hold of top spot on the ladder.
One of those away wins was a one-point thriller against Bulleen in round two, with veteran Kristi Harrower sinking the match-winning basket with 16 seconds remaining.
The experience of the likes of Harrower, Gabe Richards, Renae Camino, Chelsea Aubry and Kelly Wilson, plus star WNBA import Kelsey Griffin, could give Bendigo the edge tonight.
“Bulleen are young, it’s something we have on our side, we have veteran experience in our group,” coach Bernie Harrower said.
“Sometimes young players can be a bit vulnerable at crunch time and that’s something we try to play on a little bit.”
After a flying 9-1 start to the season, the Spirit won the first of a what Harrower has dubbed a three-game “mini finals series” against Adelaide last week.
Victory tonight, plus a win over Dandenong at home next week would set Bendigo up for a red-hot tilt at a top-two finish.
“It’s not going to be hard to keep the players motivated. We know how important it is to get home court advantage in finals.
“Bulleen and Dandenong – two Victorian clubs – there’s a rivalry with those clubs and in the past two seasons we’ve been quite good against both of them.”
Bulleen’s Tess Madgen, a two-time winner of the Spirit’s MVP award, and Australian Opal Rachel Jarry loom as Bendigo’s biggest threats tonight, but Bernie Harrower expects Renae Camino to set the court alight.
Camino missed the start of the season through injury.
“The form of Renae Camino at training has been exceptional and I can see that she’s not far away from having a break out game,” Harrower said.
“Watch out this weekend.”
Bendigo has its full squad available for tonight’s match, which tips off at 7.30pm.