Bendigo Spirit's Blake Dietrick fit, fresh and firing ahead of WNBL clash against Perth Lynx

Blake Dietrick. Picture: DARREN HOWE
Blake Dietrick. Picture: DARREN HOWE

BLAKE Dietrick says she's fresh and energised ahead of the Bendigo Spirit's first clash for 2017 against Perth Lynx.

The American point guard spent the Christmas break back home in Massachusetts, arriving back in Bendigo last Sunday.

But the 23-year-old said she was far from idle in the United States in her bid to help propel the Spirit towards a tilt at the WNBL finals.

"I own what's called 'The Gun', it's a shooting machine, so I was in the gym a lot when I was home," said Dietrick, who admitted it was great being able to step back on-court with teammates this week in Bendigo.

"I think we were a little rusty Monday night, which was to be expected, but practice Tuesday night was really solid," she said.

"Perth will definitely be a tough game. 

"We did well against them last time, it was a really good team win - everyone contributed.

"As long as we stay focused and do what we need to do we should be fine."

The trip west will be the Spirit's second this season after they defeated the Lynx 84-71 in November.

The teams are scheduled to meet once more this season in Bendigo on February 19.

Blake Dietrick

Blake Dietrick

Dietrick produced one of her best games for the season in helping shutdown Sami Whitcomb in the second half, after the Lynx star had scorched the Spirit for 33 first half points.

Whitcomb added only six second-half points as Kelsey Griffin too charge to lead the Spirit to victory with 31 points.

Spirit coach Simon Pritchard has backed his import to have an impact.

"She's come back in probably better then she left, she's refreshed mentally in a very good physical shape," she said.

"She's trained the house down the last two nights and I'm tipping she is going to have a really good game against Perth.

"She had a great game last time and is crucial; for us in terms of stopping Sami Whitcomb. She did a good job last time at spacing Sami and staying with her laterally and defending her.

"But I think Blake can also give us something in transition and give our offence something.

"I think she's in a really confident place."

Experienced guard Toni Edmondson looms as another serious threat to the Spirit.

The New Zealand Tall Fern will play her 200th WNBL game, which has included nine years in Perth and a single season in Bendigo.

"I believe Toni is one of those players who gets undervalued - she's a really attacking payer," Pritchrd said.

"Whitcomb might get her 24 or so points, but if we don't contain Toni and she gets 15 to 20 we are in trouble."