THE Bendigo Bank Spirit will aim to keep Adelaide Lightning winless when they clash at the Adelaide Arena on Sunday. It is the second of two weekend road games for the Spirit this weekend. They play the in-form Perth Lynx tonight.
Spirit coach Simon Pritchard said he would not be fooled by the Lightning’s lowly ladder position. “Although they are sitting at the bottom, we’ll be coming off what will be a very tough game in Perth,” he said.
“Much will depend on how we go with injuries and how we recover from that Perth game. “They will be a very different challenge to Perth.”
Pritchard said the duel between Spirit point guard Kelly Wilson and the Lightning’s Leilani Mitchell would be crucial to the outcome. Wilson leads all Spirit players with five assists per game and is averaging 10.2 points per game, a shade ahead of fellow guard Belinda Snell (9.4 ppg).
The size and strength of the Spirit’s Gabe Richards and Kelsey Griffin is expected to pose worries for the host’s Jess Bygate and Kelly Bowen. Griffin was in outstanding form in last weekend’s win against Canberra Capitals, finishing with 25 points, 11 rebounds and four steals.
Richards was equally imposing with with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Pritchard said the Spirit entered the weekend confident of winning both games.
“If we are able to win two that would really put us up in that top group, if we go 1-1 we’re still in the middle of the pack,” he said. “If we drop both then we are deep trouble.”
The Spirit is without guard Heather Oliver, who is still recovering from a rib injury. In better news for the Spirit, Andrea Wilson and Jane Chalmers are on the road with the team this weekend.