STRONG defence will be a key for the Bendigo Lady Braves in Saturday night's home-court basketball final against Frankston Blues.
After finishing the 24-round season on top of the south conference ladder, Bendigo will be aiming to improve on its daunting home record of 11-1 in this year's play.
The Blues away record is 7-5, but they did play well to finish within eight points of the Lady Braves at Bendigo Stadium in round three.
Frankston reigned supreme in the return clash, 67-61, in round 18.
Bendigo coach Jonathan Goodman said on Friday the Lady Braves learnt a lot from their loss on Frankston's court.
"We were disappointing against them last time," Goodman said.
"A key for us in the final will be to take care of what we do well.
"The focus is on our strengths, which include scoring power, teamwork and defensive efforts.
"We take great pride in defence and have been able to keep a lot of teams to low 60s or less."
We take great pride in defence and have been able to keep a lot of teams to low 60s or less
At the other end of the court, Bendigo has plenty of attacking power.
In round 18, Lasondra Barrett scored 20 points and won seven rebounds as Lauren King tallied 16 and six in Bendigo's battle with the Blues.
The Lady Braves will again look to the likes of Kerryn Harrington, Chantella Perera, Heather Oliver and Jane Chalmers to charge through the key or be a threat from three-point range.
Bendigo centre Alex Bunton looms a major danger to Frankston's hopes.
A talented Blues line-up is led by Nicole Romeo, Kelly Bowen and Maddie Garrick.
"They all played well against us last time," Goodman said.
Bowen finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds as Romeo, 19, and Garrick, 14, starred in a hard-fought victory.
"Those three are the key players for Frankston, but they have some terrific role players as well."
A week after being named the Lady Braves most valuable player, Lauren King will again look to have a major influence on this final.
"Lauren has had an outstanding season," Goodman said. "She is such a consistent player and her leadership is superb."
Hobart took on Kilsyth in Friday night's first semi-final of the south conference.
Bendigo and Frankston clash from 7.30pm on Saturday night.
In the east conference, Dandenong plays Brisbane, and Nunawading takes on Geelong.