THE appearance of WNBL star Carley Mijovic for the Frankston Blues is expected to make life tough for an under-strength Bendigo Lady Braves on Friday night.
Mijovic, who spent the past two seasons with the Perth Lynx before signing with the Dandenong Rangers in May, missed three games last month while representing Australia at the 3x3 FIBA World Championships in France.
But the 22-year-old has been at her best since returning to the SEABL, including a 29-point effort against the Ballarat Rush last weekend.
Mijovic was missing from the Blues line-up when they were defeated 84-61 by the Braves in Bendigo on June 24.
The Lady Braves will enter the weekend without injured point guard Kelly Wilson and young star Chloe Bibby, who has headed to the FIBA Under-19 World Cup in Italy.
With no return date set for Wilson and Bibby not due back until the Braves' final round clash against the Melbourne Tigers, coach Jonathan Goodman was anticipating a tough five games to end the regular season.
"Kelly Wilson will be back before the end of the season, but she won't play this double header which will hurt us," he said.
"Then we have Geelong and I am expecting Geelong to have a full roster with (Alex) Bunton and (Sara) Blicavs, so it's going to be tough.
"The good thing is (two of three games) will be at our house."
The Braves missed a chance to go two games clear at the top of the south conference ladder when it fell to the Canberra Capitals Academy last week by 17 points.
Goodman said a double header against Frankston followed by a Saturday night home clash against the Sandringham Sabres gave the Lady Braves a perfect chance to move forward.
"We felt last week was a slip up," he said.
"We have an interesting dynamic not having Kelly in and not having Bibby, that was the position we were in at the start of the year when we were winning games - five straight.
"We're really confident with the group we've got that we can still get the wins to get a top two spot."
Import Chante Black, who top scored last week with 21 points, said expectations within the playing group were that anything less than two wins this weekend would be unsatisfactory.
"We definitely need it to try and stay in first, but also just to get us back on track as a team," she said.
"We didn't commit well in the last game.
"But we are trying to be the best team possible. We have a lot of great players here and are definitely excited where the season is heading."
Tip-off for Saturday night's game in Bendigo is 6pm.