Bernie Harrower will ask his Bendigo Bank Spirit team for one more big effort when it rumbles with Logan Thunder at Bendigo Stadium tonight.
The 7.30pm tip-off is Bendigo’s last game before the Christmas break and victory will keep the Spirit on top of the WNBL ladder.
A loss will open the door for Dandenong to draw level on 12 wins.
After a tough, but successful run of five consecutive wins Bendigo was flat in just its second loss of the season at Townsville last Friday night, but battled hard to claim the ‘W’ in Logan on Sunday.
Although the Spirit was below its best in both matches, Harrower is counting on the players to bounce back.
“We had a pretty good heart to heart before training (Wednesday night) about the mental attitude and being able to get yourself up to play,” the Spirit coach said.
“We certainly were flat going into Townsville and because you play so poorly you drop a bit of confidence going into Logan.
“I felt we were really good at training, we were short and sharp and I expect a much better showing this week.”
Bendigo fought from five points down at three-quarter time to overrun Logan 69-61 on Sunday.
The Spirit was off target offensively until the last term when they scored 24 points, although the team’s fanatical defence did the job once again this season.
After getting a look at the Thunder last week, Harrower expects his team will be better even better at stopping Logan tonight.
“They’re certainly different to what they were last year, they brought in their American import (Corinna Montgomery) that they had last year sight unseen – that was her first game with them this season,” Harrower said.
“While we were well-prepared for the offence they run you’ve still got to deal with the personnel and you don’t really know that until you’ve played them once.”
Bendigo has extra motivation to win tonight with fan-favourite Gabe Richards suiting-up for her 150th WNBL match.
“Gabe’s just been a sensational club member, as well as a great player she’s just one of those people everyone loves having around their club,” Harrower said.
“She’s team oriented, it’s not all about her and she fits into that culture of our club so well. She’s been a stalwart of our club… and the past two years she’s just been sensational.”
Richards top-scored for the Spirit with 17 points in both of the club’s matches last weekend.