Bendigo Spirit crowned WNBL champions... again!

VIDEO: Leigh Sharp

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KELSEY Griffin put on her superman suit again, Kristi Harrower produced a masterclass in what could be her final match and the Bendigo Spirit were crowned WNBL champions for a second-straight year.

The Spirit outlasted the Townsville Fire 94-83 in a grand final of the highest quality at Bendigo Stadium.

The Spirit led by just one point at three quarter-time, but a 24-14  final term doused the Fire.

"That was unbelievable,'' an elated Spirit coach Bernie Harrower said after the win.

"That was as good a game as you'll see in this league and for us to win another championship is just sensational."

Griffin's and Kristi Harrower's heroics were the difference after the Fire threw everything at the reigning champions.

Griffin, who Dandenong coach Mark Wright likened to superman in the lead-up to the decider, was named grand final MVP for the second straight season.

She ignited the Spirit with 14 points and seven rebounds in the first quarter alone on her way to 28 points and 15 rebounds for the game.

Harrower, 39, is undecided on her future, but if Sunday's final was to be her last game, she went out in fine style.

VIDEO: Kelsey Griffin, Kristi Harrower and Bernie Harrower speak at the after game press conference. VIDEO: Leigh Sharp

The four-time Olympian scored 22 points and dished out nine assists.

"I'm 39 and I seriously have to think about family now,'' Kristi Harrower said.

"The way I've played all year I felt as though this would be my last game.

"You come out and have games like I did today and you want to go on again.

"My husband has been patient with me and that's something I've got to seriously think about."

Kristi has been frustrated with her shooting this season, but she found form when it mattered most.

"I was stressing all week about this game,'' Kristi admitted.

"I was thinking about - what if we lose?

"I knew this game was going to be tough, but today when I woke up I felt great.

"I felt so good shooting the ball at shootaround... and I'm so glad that some shots fell.

"I said to myself that if this is going to be my last game, then I'm going to play as if it is my last game.

"That's what I did with the Opals (at the London Olympics).

"I played the same way today."

In the past fortnight Griffin spent extra time working on her perimeter game.

It was worth it. The Connecticut Sun WNBA star was 10-16 from the floor, including 4-4 from behind the three-point arc.

"I knew that all the preparation had been done, this is what you work for and why you sacrifice time with family and friends,'' she said.

"It comes down to moments in games like this and you have to put it all on the line."

Bernie Harrower paid credit to Townsville.

"Townsville are as tough nails and they played really well,'' Bernie Harrower said.

"They bought the best out of us and we had to play sensationally to get the win.

"It was such a high quality game. We were putting pressure on and they just kept hitting shots.

"We had to weather the storm and keep in touch and, hopefully, they went cold.

"That seemed to be the case in the last quarter, our defence was sensational and we came up with some huge baskets."

WNBL MVP Suzy Batkovic led from the front for the Fire, scoring 21 points and pulling down nine rebounds.

Mia Newley made a big impact off the bench, scoring 18 points, while Steph Cumming added 14.

Fire skipper Rachael McCully, who was playing her 300th WNBL game, had 12 points, six rebounds and six assists.

VIDEO: Townsville Fire's Suzy Batkovic and Chris Lucas speak at the after game press conference. VIDEO: Leigh Sharp

"Bendigo shot the ball really well... and Kelsey Griffin was just huge, she's a superstar,'' Townsville coach Chris Lucas said.

"We scored enough points ourselves to win the game, but Bendigo just finds a way to grind you away."

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