No respite for Spirit in gruelling WNBL schedule

POINT GUARD: Bendigo Spirit's Kerryn Harrington. The Spirit have another weekend double coming up against Sydney Uni on Friday night and Adelaide on Sunday. Picture: STEVE BLAKE, AKUNA PHOTOGRAPHY

POINT GUARD: Bendigo Spirit's Kerryn Harrington. The Spirit have another weekend double coming up against Sydney Uni on Friday night and Adelaide on Sunday. Picture: STEVE BLAKE, AKUNA PHOTOGRAPHY

THE Bendigo Bank Spirit will play their third-straight interstate game and second-consecutive weekend double-header starting against Sydney Uni on Friday night.

The Spirit are in the midst of arguably their most gruelling period of the WNBL season that began last weekend with a pair of interstate games against Perth on Friday night and Adelaide on Saturday night.

Now a trip to Sydney to take on the Flames awaits, before the Spirit returns to their homecourt on Sunday afternoon to play bottom side Adelaide again.

That’s four games in nine days and a total of 6950 kilometres traveled by aeroplane.

The Spirit and Sydney Uni have already met once this season, with the Flames inflicting one of Bendigo’s three losses so far when they came from 14 points down during the second quarter to win 74-69 at the Bendigo Stadium on October 21.

“For us this game on Friday night gives us a really good chance to see how far we’ve come over the four weeks since we last played Sydney,” Spirit coach Simon Pritchard said on Thursday.

“We don’t have a sense of owing them for beating us on our home court last time, it’s more about the fact that we haven’t beaten them yet.

“So we don’t know yet whether we’re good enough to win a championship… we haven’t beaten Sydney, we haven’t beaten Melbourne, so in our minds that leaves us third until we’ve proven we can beat everyone.”

The Spirit head into this weekend on top of the ladder with a 7-3 record, while the Flames (4-3) are fourth.

“I see Sydney as a definite finals team this season, and with that being the case then it’s really important for us to be competitive against them on Friday night,” Pritchard said.

The Spirit have captain Kelsey Griffin coming off WNBL Player of the Week honours for her efforts in last weekend’s pair of wins over Perth and Adelaide when she combined for 41 points, 16 rebounds, five assists and four steals.

Following Friday night’s game against Sydney Uni that tips off at 7.30pm at Brydens Stadium, the Spirit will take on winless Adelaide at the Bendigo Stadium from 3pm Sunday.

The two teams have already met twice this season, with Bendigo recording a season-opening 77-63 win in overtime and last Saturday night’s 74-51 triumph.

• First 10 games of season:

77 def Adelaide 63 (ot)

59 def Dandenong 44

69 lt Sydney Uni 74

67 lt Melbourne 71

94 def Dandenong 85

74 def Townsville 62

70 def Canberra 58

69 lt Townsville 71

84 def Perth 71

74 def Adelaide 51

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