Spirit's opportunity to sew up a home semi

THE Bendigo Bank Spirit can sew up top spot on the WNBL ladder with a win over the Sydney Uni Flames on Saturday night.

A victory over the Flames would improve the Spirit's record to 19-2 and from there, the minor premiership and a home second semi-final would be secured for the defending champions.

"It would be nice if we could get that (top spot secured) done on Saturday night, and then we can concentrate in our last three games on making sure that everyone is in good form going into the finals," Spirit coach Bernie Harrower said on Friday.

The Spirit is 2-0 in its games against Sydney Uni this season, having comfortably beaten the Flames by 16 and 23 points in their two meetings.  

The Flames six sixth on the ladder with an 8-12 record and haven't beaten the Spirit since February, 2012, but Harrower isn't under-estimating them.

"They are a quality team and any side in this competition is capable of having good wins if you play hard," Harrower said.

"We played (8th-placed) Logan last week and were behind at half-time, so we need to make sure that all the players come ready to play on Saturday night.

"There's no room for complacency in our group, because if there is it may mean that you don't get to play in a final.

"Everybody needs to be up and ready to go and not take anything for granted, because if they do, they'll miss out.

"There's competition for spots in the team and starting positions, so that's very healthy."

Saturday night's game against the Flames is the start of the Spirit's last four matches before the finals.

"We really need to be in finals mode for these last four games so we're ready when the finals do come around," Harrower said.

"It's about stepping it up now and making sure we're playing finals-type basketball and not just going through the motions."

Star centre Gabe Richards returns to the Spirit line-up after missing last week's wins against Logan and Townsville following a cortisone injection in her knee.

Saturday night's game will be played at Sydney's Bryden Stadium from 7pm.

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