Bendigo Spirit point guard Kerryn Harrington to miss crucial WNBL encounter against Sydney Uni Flames

HUGE LOSS: Kerryn Harrington will miss Bendigo Spirit's crucial encounter against top-four rival Sydney Uni Flames this Friday night. Picture: AKUNA PHOTOGRAPHY

HUGE LOSS: Kerryn Harrington will miss Bendigo Spirit's crucial encounter against top-four rival Sydney Uni Flames this Friday night. Picture: AKUNA PHOTOGRAPHY


Injury to Bendigo Spirit veteran Jane Chalmers opens door for talented state representative Kara Tessari

BENDIGO Bank Spirit will go into a crucial WNBL clash this Friday against Sydney Uni Flames without their starting point guard Kerryn Harrington.

The 24-year-old went into last weekend's game against Perth Lynx with the injury, which flared up during the pre-game warm-up.

Harrington lasted only one minute and 43 seconds in the Spirit's crushing 67-108 loss.

The 41-point margin was the biggest defeat in the Spirit's 10-year history in the WNBL. It was also the most points they had conceded in a single game.

The news could be worse for the Spirit, with head coach Simon Pritchard conceding Harrington was only "marginal" to return for the Spirit's road double against Canberra Capitals and Townsville Fire in a fortnight's time.

Pritchard said the coaching group had been caught off guard by the extent of Harrington's injury and it gave players no time to prepare for new roles.

"It was only in the warm-up that we realised she wasn't going to be any good, so that gave Blake (Dietrick) no mental preparation and we had no chance to properly re-jig the team," he said.

"Knowing we only went to Perth with eight players, which is not ideal, we had just one point guard.

"That forced Blake to play out of position, she's normally the back-up who plays a few minutes there, but normally she's in the two spot.

"In the end Nadeen (Payne) had to play on the perimeter and she's a post player.

"What's the difference between us and other teams is wee don't have the budget to take 10 players away, everybody else does, which is fine but not when a player is injured."

Pritchard said Harrington would be reassessed ahead of their road double, starting in Townsville on January 20.

With the Spirit giving up a mammoth 106 points, the second-year coach said practice Monday and Tuesday had been all about defence.

"We scored 67 points - normally we would score 70 to 77 points which wins us games," Pritchard said.

"So we weren't far off with Kelsey Griffin going 0-8 and us as a team playing terrible defence.

"Our good defence feeds our offence so we need to return to that and (Monday) night was all about containment, footwork and stopping people getting to the basket."

The fallout from Perth could have been a lot worse, with bottom-side Adelaide Lightning doing the Spirit a favour by defeating top side Dandenong Rangers.

While Canberra Capitals' upset of Sydney Uni ensured the Spirit fell only one place on the ladder.

Dandenong (11-5) heads the WNBL ladder, with Perth, Bendigo and Sydney Uni all tied on 10-6, with Townsville in pursuit on 10-7.

Harrington is the second player to succumb to injury in recent days, with long-serving guard Jane Chlamers already ruled out for the remainder of the season with a thumb injury.

Those injuries pave the way for the newly signed teenage point guard Kara Tessari to suit up for the first time on Friday night.

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