Mental edge the key for Spirit

THE minor premiership is secured, but Bendigo Spirit coach Bernie Harrower wants his players to take their game to another level when they take on championship rivals Dandenong and Melbourne Boomers this weekend.

The Spirit head to Dandenong on Saturday night with one clear goal - maintain the psychological edge they hold on the Rangers.

The Spirit have beaten the second-placed Rangers the past eight times they've met and a ninth-straight win is important to Harrower on the eve of the WNBL play-offs.

"Our position at the top of the ladder can't change and Dandenong needs to win to secure second place and the double chance, so this game is big for Dandenong,'' Harrower said.

"They'll be desperate to get the win, so the challenge is there for our girls to take their game to another level.

"There's every chance we will be playing Dandenong again in the play-offs, so it's very important we play well against them this week."

Defence has been the cornerstone of Bendigo's success against Dandenong. The Rangers are a free-scoring team, but they haven't scored more than 75 points against the Spirit in the eight-game streak.

"The last time we played Dandenong they had us in trouble,'' Harrower said.

"I think they scored 65 points in the first three quarters, but then we kept them to just seven points in the final term and we got the win. Dandenong is a talented team and we have a lot of respect for the way they play."

On Sunday, the Spirit host the Melbourne Boomers at Bendigo Stadium. The Spirit humiliated the Boomers 83-49 in round 13 in Bendigo.

"That was as well as we've played all season,'' Harrower said.

"That won't mean anything on Sunday. They have the talent to cause us trouble."

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