BENDIGO Bank Spirit's build-up to the WNBL season gathers pace in Friday night's clash with China's national team.
The Tom Maher-coached China is eighth in the world basketball rankings.
Spirit coach Bernie Harrower said on Thursday the team was looking forward to the challenge on their home court at Bendigo Stadium.
"This is the first time in the club's history that we will play an international team," Harrower said.
Harrower said the match was part of an "exciting build-up" to the WNBL season start on October 4.
Spirit's season launch was held on Thursday night at Bendigo Town Hall.
The long-time basketball coach expects China to provide fierce defence.
"Strong defence is a trait of all Tom Maher-coached teams," said Harrower.
Being in the stands at matches in Olympic and world championship campaigns has given Harrower an insight into how strong China can be.
"This match will be a great challenge for us."
Spirit is close to full-strength.
Four-time Olympic representative and gun guard Kristi Harrower declared on Wednesday she would play another season for Spirit and will take to the court against China.
Chelsea Aubry will play a key role at either end of the court.
A foot and back injury is likely to keep Chantella Perera on the sidelines, along with Elyse Penaluna.
Friday night's half-time entertainment will feature the Bendigo Chinese Association's lion-dancing team.
Friday's match tips off at 7pm at Bendigo Stadium in Marong Road. Tickets are $18 adults, $10 children, $50 family. Membership packages are on sale.