Past results mean nothing to Dandenong coach Mark Wright ahead of Sunday’s WNBL second semi-final in Bendigo.
With a grand final berth up for grabs the Bendigo Bank Spirit will take confidence into the game after sweeping the Rangers 3-0 this season.
But for the reigning champions that record matters little.
“I think it does to Bendigo, I think they’ve put a lot of emphasis on that,” Wright said.
“We certainly haven’t talked about it. We know they’re a very good side, but finals are a different game.
“I think all that stuff goes out the window, as far as we’re concerned, when it comes game time.”
The Spirit has the wood over the Rangers, with five wins in a row and a 14-4 record overall.
But Dandenong has had its chances in each loss to Bendigo this season.
“It’s not like Bendigo has flogged us, there’s not a big difference between us,” Wright said.
“They’ve certainly played well and I know they believe they’ve got our number. I think they probably have had up to this point and it’s up to us to turn that around.”
Dandenong won’t change its fast-paced, attacking style.
“To change all that around would be foolish. It’s what got us to the championship last year and we’re not going to change now,” Wright said.
Few surprises are expected from either team on Sunday.
Bendigo will rely heavily on Kristi Harrower, Gabe Richards and Kelsey Griffin, while Australian Opals Kathleen MacLeod and Jenna O’Hea hold the key for Dandenong.
MacLeod has performed admirably against the Spirit this season, but O’Hea has been below her best.
“I can’t really remember the last time Jenna had a standout game against Bendigo, but she is very important to us,” Wright said.
“Obviously Jenna and Kathleen are the lynchpins in that group. We base everything around them, pretty much as do Bendigo with Kristi and Gabe.
“We do need (Jenna) to play well otherwise we’re going to struggle.”
Wright believes it will take an “exceptional” game from his team to inflict only the Spirit’s second loss at Bendigo Stadium this season.
“As far as I’m concerned I would rather fly interstate than travel to Bendigo, it’s a very tough road trip,” he said.
“Especially with the finals, the full house is going to be a great advantage. We’re going to have to play some exceptional basketball to win this game.”