BENDIGO Spirit star Gabe Richards is a certain starter for tonight’s crucial WNBL clash with the Sydney Uni Flames.
After missing last weekend’s win over Bulleen because of illness, Richards trained strongly last night to book her place in the side for tonight’s game at Bendigo Stadium.
While Richards is a certain starter, decisions on the fitness of star point guard Kristi Harrower and back-up guard Chantella Perera won’t be made until today.
Harrower, who tweaked her Achilles last week, did train last night. Perrera has been troubled by a back injury and didn’t train.
Ideally, the league-leading Spirit would love to rest Harrower and Perrera, but they have Dandenong breathing down their neck.
The Spirit need to win tonight’s game and Sunday’s road game against Logan to maintain their buffer at the top of the ladder.
“That’s why we talk about it being the business-end of the year, because all teams are going after it,’’ Spirit coach Bernie Harrower said.
“There just won’t be any easy games inbetween now and the end of the season. Sydney are certainly still in the mix, Logan are in the mix and both teams will be going after it and we’ve got our work cut-out for us.
“We’ve got to make sure we’re on top of what we do and are prepared for it.”
Harrower is wary of Sydney’s scoring ability.
“They’ve got a star-studded line-up and it belies where they sit on the ladder,’’ he said.
“They’re more than capable of beating any team in the competition and they can flat-out score.
“Last time we played them in Sydney we scored 91 and they scored 76, so even for a team like us that plays fairly good defence they scored pretty high against us.
“If we have a poor night offensively we could be in a bit of trouble.”
Sunday’s clash in Brisbane against Logan shapes as a real danger game for the Spirit.
“They’re still in the hunt, especially with their win over Adelaide last weekend, and while they’re still in the mix they’re going to be going hard,’’ Harrower said.
“We know that we pumped them last time, so they’ll be looking for some redemption against us.”
Tonight’s game starts at 7.30pm.