Bendigo Bank Spirit coach Bernie Harrower will ask for a big effort from his tired troops in round two of the WNBL this weekend.
The Spirit plays its third game on the road in a week against the Bulleen Boomers tonight, after victories in Adelaide and Perth last weekend.
Bendigo then travels to face reigning premiers the Dandenong Rangers tomorrow night.
“We’ve given everybody a pretty light week just so we can freshen up for the weekend after all the travel last week,” Harrower said.
“(We didn’t) get home until 8 o’clock Sunday morning and then you haven’t got much time until the Friday of next week, but that’s the cards you’re dealt, so you’ve got to do it.”
The Spirit will again be without star recruit Renae Camino, but Hayley Munro should play after struggling with illness this week. Munro will be important helping to contain Bulleen and Dandenong’s talls.
Australian Opals giant Liz Cambage has left Bulleen for China, but the Boomers will still pose a big challenge for Bendigo.
“They’re fairly big right through, they can pretty much start 5’11” as their smallest player,” Harrower said.
Tonight’s meeting will also be the first time the Spirit comes up against its former star Tess Madgen.
The two-time Bendigo MVP made a quiet debut for Bulleen with just eight points last weekend, as the Boomers were convincingly defeated 90-75 by Dandenong in clash of last season’s grand finalists.
Meanwhile, the Rangers will welcome back star Opals guard Jenna O’Hea after her WNBA team, the Los Angeles Sparks, was bundled out of play-offs on Monday.
Dandenong has not lost any players from last year’s championship team, but Harrower is quietly confident of containing the Rangers after Bendigo won two of their three meetings last season.
“They’ve added in two AIS youngsters (Sara Blicavs and Carley Mijovic), but it’s pretty much the same team and we were successful last year against them,” Harrower said.
“The only issue for us is that we’re backing up again for the second weekend in a row where we’ve got to play two games in a row.”
Harrower hopes to win at least one match this weekend and would pencil in a win at home against West Coast next round, which would give the Spirit a flying start to the season.
“That’s what we want to do is at least get one win for the weekend and be able to stay around that 75 per cent mark of win-loss, there and above will get us a top-three spot so that’s what we’re chasing,” he said.
Tonight’s match at the Veneto Club tips off at 7.30pm, with tomorrow’s game at Dandenong Basketball Stadium at 7pm.