Bendigo Bank Spirit Facing A Crucial Two Weeks

Akuna Photography

The Bendigo Bank Spirit has set itself a simple New Year’s resolution of winning the next two WNBL games.

Fresh from a 15-day break, the fifth-placed Spirit (9-7) take to the court on Saturday night against the bottom-placed Canberra Capitals.

A clash against the Melbourne Boomers follows on January 9.

The Spirit fell out of the top four before Christmas on the back of a pair of home defeats against the Boomers and Sydney University Flames.

In a season where weekly upsets have been the norm, Spirit coach Simon Pritchard was under no illusion as to the importance of the next two games.

He said the next fortnight would define the club’s season.

“If we win these two we only have to win four out of the last six to make the finals,” he said.

“We lose these two and our season is out of our hands.”

While there is much to be done ahead of the playoffs, the Spirit would feel confident of their chances should they qualify.

With the exception of the second-placed Flames, the Spirit have beaten each of the three other teams above them, including top-placed Perth twice (in three games) and third-placed Townsville twice in two outings.

But it is games of the ilk of that against winless Canberra, where the Spirit have started favourites, that has proved their undoing on more than once this season.

“We have an opportunity, but it won’t be easy,” Pritchard said.

“Canberra is ready to win. Despite not winning a game this season, they are close, after only losing the past few by single digits.

“They are a talented team and it is only a matter of time. We need to put them under pressure defensively and capitalise on that.”

Stars Kelsey Griffin (16.8ppg, 9.3rpg), Gabe Richards (15.3ppg, 9.6rpg) and Belinda Snell (14.8ppg, 3.6apg) will look to take up where they left off against the Capitals after quality first halves of the season.

Kelly Wilson is second in the competition with 5.13apg, complementing her 10.5ppg.

Article: Kieran Iles, Bendigo Advertiser
Photo: Steve Blake, Akuna Photography

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