Kristi primed for home WNBL title

VICTORY in Sunday’s Women’s National Basketball League grand final would rank alongside four Olympic medals and a world championship gold medal for Bendigo Bank Spirit star Kristi Harrower.

That’s how much playing for the Bendigo Spirit means to the dynamic point guard.

“This is the world to me,’’ Kristi Harrower said yesterday.

“I’m coming to the end of my career and  I don’t know what I’m going to do next season.

“ I’m a born and bred Bendigo girl.My Dad (coach Bernie Harrower) has been heavily involved with this club and there’s a lot of things, good and bad, that Dad and I have been through with the club. 

“We’ve stuck with the club because we love it. We live and breathe basketball. To win a title on our home floor, in front of our home crowd for the first time in the club’s history would be pretty special.”

Kristi admits it took her the best part of last week to physically recover from the second semi-final win over Dandenong.

The 38-year-old has been undergoing daily physio and massage treatment to ensure she’s as pain free as she can be for the grand final clash with Townsville.

“My Achilles is feeling a little bit better. It’s not as sore as last week, I was really, really sore after the game against Dandenong,’’ she said.

“In the end I decided not to have a cortisone. It’s only one more game and I’m happy just to deal with it.

“You can’t treat the Achilles itself. It’s about keeping everything around it loose and making sure I’m taking an anti-inflammatory everyday.

“It’s always going to be sore, it just depends how sore.”

Kristi’s experience in big games has played its part at training this week.

“We’re not over excited or over confident, we’re keeping a lid on it and keeping our daily and weekly routine,’’ she said.

“The girls are really looking forward to it, it’s going to be a great contest.”

The Spirit hold a 2-1 advantage over Townsville this season, but Kristi is taking little notice of the record.

“Both teams are very similar,’’ she said.

“We both play together, we’re pretty structured, anyone can score and we rely on defence.

“Townsville are hard to defend because of all their scorers, we’re the same.

“I just hope with 3000 people in the stadium that 2800 Bendigo people really help us get over the line.”

Kristi said it will take a team effort from the Spirit to win the championship.

“We have to respect Townsville,’’ she said.

“We can’t just focus on one or two players because someone else will step  up and have a good game.

“We rely on our team defence and if we can play well as a team, I think we’ll be in good shape.”

LAST SESSION Bendigo Spirit players at their final training session before Sunday's grand final.

LAST SESSION Bendigo Spirit players at their final training session before Sunday's grand final.