Blicavs raises intensity on court

A FIRST-YEAR player at Bendigo Bank Spirit,  Sara Blicavs is primed for Saturday afternoon's challenge with Townsville Fire.

Blicavs and her Spirit team-mates are determined to avenge the first-round loss on Fire's court and to continue a 16-match winning run.

Townsville centre Suzy Batkovic looms as a major threat to Bendigo's chances.

The play of Blicavs, Gabe Richards, Elyse Penaluna and Kelsey Griffin on defence will be crucial.

Townsville returns to Bendigo for the first time since Spirit won last season's WNBL grand final against Fire.

Blicavs said Bendigo had learnt a lot from the season-opening clash where Steph Cumming, Micaela Cocks and Suzy Batkovic dominated in a 79-67 victory.

The Spirit has not lost since, but for Blicavs that feeling of helplessness as the Fire turned up the heat is still fresh.

“The same thing happened up there when I was playing with Dandenong, so I know what it’s like to play up in Townsville,” she said.

“But coming into a team with a lot of talent like Bendigo and to lose like that was kind of shattering."

Redemption is on the minds of the Spirit squad.

Spirit's work to limit Batkovic will take a team effort.

“She scores for them, defends really well, rebounds well; she’s obviously a main factor,” Blicavs said.

“But we can’t just focus on one person because they’ve got Steph Cumming who’s playing great and pretty much their whole team (contributes).”

The Bernie Harrower-coached Spirit is unbeaten at home and achieved an average winning margin of 20 points on the Bendigo Stadium showcourt.

Saturday's match tips off at 3pm.

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