THE Bendigo Bank Spirit is one win away from its first Women’s National Basketball League title.
Spurred on by a boisterous home crowd, the Spirit scored a stunning 78-71 win over the Dandenong Rangers in yesterday’s second semi-final at Bendigo Stadium.
The victory means the Spirit will host the grand final on Sunday, March 10.
“If I go back six years and you told me that this club would have played in a preliminary final two years ago and now host a grand final, I would have said it would be a dream come true,” Spirit chairman Jeremi Moule said after yesterday’s win.
“When we started the club we wanted to put together a team that would be competitive and represent the city well.
“Now we’re getting ready to host a grand final in Bendigo. We couldn’t ask for anything more. It’s a great reward for this group.”
The Spirit trailed by 10 points at half-time yesterday, but rallied on the back of outstanding performances from Kelly Wilson, Kelsey Griffin and Kristi Harrower.
The home crowd also played a role in the victory. “I don’t know how many games of basketball I’ve seen at this stadium over the years, but I’ve never heard a crowd that loud before,’’ Mr Moule said.
“We’ve had international matches here and Commonwealth Games, but the crowd today beats any of those events.
“When the players were being introduced before the game you couldn’t even hear the players’ names being read out.
“In the second half the crowd really helped us. The atmosphere was just amazing.
“We had 2000 fans here today and, hopefully, we’ll get 3000 here for the grand final.”
Mr Moule said the club would spend the next couple of days working out the final seating arrangements at the stadium before grand final tickets go on sale.